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The Lowdown
March 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.

Companies & Events in the News: Sedo Charity Auction, Latonas.com, ParkLogic.com & DomainSherpa.com

Sedo.com will be holding a special charity auction tomorrow (Thursday, March 31) through Thursday, April 7.  Unlike traditional auctions, the proceeds will be going directly to The Strausses, a terminally ill couple associated with the Torah High School in San Diego, California

The Strausses, who are known as pillars of their community, are suffering from degenerative illnesses. Several years back, Jerry Strauss, a successful real estate entrepreneur, saw the value of domain names and invested in many of them to build a sizeable portfolio but when he became ill most 

of the domain portfolio was donated to a Hebrew high school. Unfortunately, as their medical bills piled up The Strausses have had to rely on donations from family and friends to survive.

Sedo's North American Director of Sales Kathy Nielsen said, "We are honored to host an auction event that directly benefits such an important and worthy cause. We are confident that each sale will help foster the emotional and physical well being of the Strausses; providing them peace of mind during these trying times. The domain inventory is a solid selection of names and we encourage investors to take advantage of the opportunity to make an offer and to make a difference! " The complete auction inventory can be viewed here.

Elsewhere, Rick Latona has announced his company will no longer hold domain auctions on their Latonas.com platform. Latona said he would use Sedo to auction his names instead. In a blog post Tuesday he wrote, "I’m back to being a customer now, buying and selling through intermediaries and I’m fine with that. Frankly, it’s a lot less stressful."

In case you missed it, I want to draw your attention to a new feature story that we published Tuesday. As most of your know, Michael Gilmour, the founder of ParkLogic.com, is one of the most familiar figures in the domain industry. If you have ever attended a major domain conference you have likely seen Gilmour on the dais. His expertise in domain monetization and management have made him one of the most wanted speakers among show organizers.  

While you have probably seen and heard a lot about Gilmour, you may not be as familiar with ParkLogic, the parking services provider he founded. That is because ParkLogic has always been very selective about the portfolios they accept in their system. Gilmour has quietly built the company (with close to a half million domains under management) through personal contacts and word of mouth recommendations - a strategy that has allowed him to aggregate a very high quality flow of traffic.

His clients have been rewarded with a remarkably 

Michael Gilmour

advanced system that, after five years of development work, has morphed into a phenomenal all purpose domain management platform. In fact that is what caught my attention and led to this story, rather than the company's domain parking component alone.  You can get all of the details here

A few days a go I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Michael Cyger for DomainSherpa.com, his new site that is rapidly becoming a robust industry resource. That in-depth interview (running 78 minutes) was posted today (you can view it here). 

Michael came up with a lot of fresh questions that resulted in us covering a lot of ground that I haven’t publicly talked about before, including a lot of detailed domain selling tips. One think I really like about Michael's interviews is that he makes them available in separate video, audio and text versions, so you can pick the format that you like best. I hope you enjoy the interview as much as we did doing it!

One final note - I will be en route to Boynton Beach tomorrow so we can attend the South Florida Domainers Group meeting being hosted by John Ferber at his home Thursday evening (March 31). As a result, there won't be a Lowdown post Thursday but I'll be back here Friday evening with some photos and highlights from the meeting. 

(Posted March 30, 2011) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

ABC-TV's Secret Millionaire Series Put Domain Holdings Co-Founder John Ferber in the National Spotlight Sunday Night

I hope you had an opportunity to watch ABC-TV's latest episode of Secret Millionaire that aired last night (Sunday, March 27). The reality show focuses on successful but selfless people

who go out of their way to share their good fortune with people in need. Sunday night's one-hour episode (currently available at this link on Hulu.com in case you missed it) focused on Domain Holdings Group Co-Founder John Ferber (we just published a new feature story about Domain Holdings today). 

John made his fortune when he and his brother Scott built Advertising.com into an internet powerhouse then sold the company to America Online for $435 million in cash in 2004. There was no longer any need for Ferber to work a day in his life, but he is not one to sit still, so he joined domain pioneer Chad Folkening and another very successful internet entrepreneur, Erik Simons, to found domain development, SEO and monetization company Domain Holdings Group, LLC last year. 

The Baltimore-born Ferber also plunged headlong into philanthropy in 2007 when he founded Microgiving.com, a unique website 

John Ferber, Co-Founder, 
Domain Holdings Group, LLC

that enables people to raise money online to fund a project, cause or entrepreneurial idea and give a percent of what you raise directly to a charity, cause, individual or family in need.

On the Secret Millionaire episode, Ferber is seen spending five days on Los Angeles's notorious Skid Row where he sought out people and organizations in need. He wound up writing checks totaling  $100,000 and donating many thousands of dollars worth of additional goods and services to help people in that severely distressed community. When you see how much his help meant to those people you can't help but wipe a tear or two from your own eyes and wonder what more you could be doing to make the world a better place for people who literally have nothing.

I first had the pleasure of meeting John during DNCruise last September and am looking forward to seeing again Thursday night (March 31, 2011) when he is graciously hosting a meeting of the South Florida Domainers Group at his Boynton Beach home. Everyone who has met him will tell you that  John is a truly nice guy. But he is much more than that. Though just 37 years old, he has already discovered a truth that most people never realize and he stated it succinctly in his final comment on the ABC show when he said, "If you want to feel good about yourself, go out and help somebody else." 

(Posted March 28, 2011) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL:

After Successful 2010 Debut in Prague DOMAINfest Europe Will Return With June Show in Barcelona, Spain

The 2011 domain conference schedule continues to shape up with Oversee.net confirming the dates and location for DOMAINfest Europe today. The show will be held in Barcelona, Spain June 7-9, 2011 at the Pullman Barcelona Skipper Hotel. Sun worshippers will be happy

to know that the hotel is just 50 meters from the beach. Discounted rooms can be booked by downloading a special hotel reservation form here.

This will be the 2nd annual DOMAINfest Europe conference. The show, sponsored by Oversee's domain monetization unit, DomainSponsor, debuted last year with a successful outing in Prague that attracted over 200 attendees from two dozen different countries. 

The Pullman Barcelona Skipper Hotel (above)
will host DOMAINfest Europe in June. 

Online registration for DOMAINfest Europe will open on Friday, April 1, 2011. The discounted early bird registration rate will be $695 through April 30th with the price increasing to $795 May 1. Show organizers said the event will offer an an opportunity for publishers with direct navigation traffic, plus online marketers and domain-related service providers, to meet and discuss ways to analyze traffic, improve landing page designs and maximize revenue. Preliminary information on the conference agenda, networking activities, and sponsorship opportunities are available at http://domainfest.com

The show will also include a Moniker® Premium Domain that will be held at the Pullman Barcelona Skipper hotel on Wednesday, June 8, 2011 beginning at 4:00 pm Central European time (which is 10am U.S. EDT and 7am U.S. PDT). Bidders can participate online as well as in person. There will also be an extended online auction that will run until June 22 at 9pm CET. You can find details on both the live and extended auctions, including how to bid remotely, here. Sellers are encouraged to submit premium names for the auction now. Deadline for submission is April 29, 2011.

In a related note, DomainSponsor is reporting that its European division just logged its fifth consecutive quarter of revenue growth. The company said revenues in Q1-2011 saw a double digit increase over Q4-2010. 

The company credits the upward momentum to ongoing investment in new optimization technology, which they say has yielded stronger financial performance for clients and better direct navigation results for end-users.  DomainSponsor also reported it also has added sales and support staff in its European headquarters office in Frankfurt, Germany.

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

Look Up in the Sky! It's a Contest! It's a Conference! It's A Live Auction! No! It's Domain Madness! 

As I write this (wondering how I am going to explain ripping off the opening to the Superman TV show from the 50's for that headline) Diana and I are settling in to watch the Florida Gators play BYU tonight as NCAA Basketball's March Madness continues with the Sweet 16. Tomorrow night we will be watching the Florida State Seminoles play Virginia Commonwealth in another regional semifinal. Our home state of Florida is one of four that has two teams still alive in the college classic (Virginia, North Carolina and Wisconsin are the others). 

With the country fixated on March Madness at this time each year, our friends at DomainConsultant.com came up with a great idea for a domain event that could ride on the basketball tournament's coattails. Domain Madness, which consists of a contest, a live domain auction and a Las Vegas conference/party all rolled into one debuted in 2009. In a few days the big event returns for a third go round that will run from March 29 to April 5.   

The contest offers a $1,000 cash prize to the person who has the best record of predicting which domains will sell the in the live auction (powered by Boxcar.com

that will be be aired live online from the Palms Hotel in Las Vegas starting a 4pm (U.S. Central time) on April 5th. You can get the official pool sheet here and review the contest rules here. The auction catalog is also online now so you can start making your picks (there may be a few late adds before the contest closes March 29th - the date when pre-bidding will begin). 

If you want to attend the event live you just need to send an RSVP note to the organizers (all details are on this page) by 5pm (U.S. Central time) on March 30th. Then just bring yourself and your laptop to the Palms where foods, drinks and fun will be served to everyone attending. 

In a related note, Boxcar.com, is currently undergoing a major upgrade to handle the increased auction traffic. That involves moving the site's servers to the cloud which may result in some temporary out of service messages until the site's new location fully propagates across the web. Company founder Mike Fiol gave the details in a post at DomainConsultant today. The new site is already resolving here and it looks great - so congrats are in order to Mike and his crew on that.

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

If You Missed DOMAINfest Global (Or Want to Re-Visit Key Sessions) Videos Are Now Online

Even though DOMAINfest Global drew a record crowd this year, I know that many who would like to have been at the annual event held in Santa Monica, California Feb. 1-3, 2011 were 

unable to make the trip. If that is you  you can now see what you missed as a number of full-length videos have been posted at the DOMAINfest website. These also make it possible for those who were there to re-visit some of the show's key sessions to absorb more of the valuable advice shared by the speakers and panelists.

The videos include Oversee.net President and CEO Jeff Kupietzky's 

State of the Industry: 2011 and Beyond address, Eli Goodman's discussion of Internet Vital Signs, Jay Berkowitz's highly informative session on the Top Ten Steps to Building a Winning Website, a workshop that provided tips on Buying & Selling Domain Names, the Pitchfest Contest and many others. There is a lot of invaluable information in these videos and it is very nice that DOMAINfest is making them available to everyone at no charge.

Scene from the Generation Rescue fundraising 
party at the Playboy Mansion (Feb. 3, 2011)

Conference organizers released some other show details today as well. They said that a post-conference survey showed that 94% of respondents were satisfied to very satisfied with their DOMAINfest experience, citing networking opportunities as the #1 benefit of that experience. They also revealed that the closing night fundraising party at the Playboy Mansion wound up generating $33,000 for Jenny McCarthy’s autism foundation Generation Rescue. The funds will be used to help numerous families get services they need to help improve their child’s quality of life with autism.

As for the widely publicized suspicion that the Mansion may have been the source of a bacterial illness that struck many conference attendees soon after they returned home, the jury is still out. This week I spoke with a couple of attendees who had follow-up lab 

tests done by public health officials and they said they are still waiting for results. Until those come in we are unlikely to hear a final verdict from health department officials investigating the incident.

Though the illness outbreak (something that was beyond the control of conference organizers) became the over-riding topic of discussion in the days after the show closed (discussion amplified by worldwide mainstream media coverage), the DOMAINfest Global team deserves credit for delivering another outstanding event. 

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

ICA Legal Counsel Phil Corwin Joins Forces With Noted Domain Attorney Stevan Lieberman at Greenberg & Lieberman + AfternicDLS Announces Major Expansion 

Philip S. Corwin, the long time legal counsel for the Internet Commerce Association (ICA) and Founding Principal of Virtualaw LLC, has taken on an additional role with the well-known 

Washington, D.C. based firm Greenberg & Lieberman, LLC where noted domain attorney Stevan Lieberman has a thriving practice. Corwin has joined G&L in an Of Counsel capacity. 

Lieberman said, “We are delighted that Phil has chosen to forge a relationship with our firm. His long record of effective legislative and regulatory advocacy will allow us to better provide firm clients with the ability to influence critical policy decisions being made here in Washington. Phil is particularly well known for his past representation of innovative, cutting edge technology firms that raise novel intellectual property issues, including mp3.com and Sharman Networks (Kazaa). He has also doing an outstanding job serving as Counsel to the Internet Commerce Association, providing a voice for domain name investors and developers on Capitol Hill, as well as within ICANN."


Phil Corwin

Corwin said, "This association with Greenberg and Lieberman will provide my clients with the best possible representation regarding trademark and patent filings and prosecution, IP litigation, UDRP arbitrations, and Internet law matters, including registrar applications.  Additionally, the firm specializes in contracts, securities, US and international corporate formations, and other key business law functions.  No matter what their needs, our overall team will be able to provide a coordinated response of the highest quality.”

G&L Member Michael Greenberg added: “In addition to his Internet law and IP background, Phil also continues to represent some of the Nation’s major financial services trade groups. His lobbying expertise was recognized when he was chosen to serve as Chairman of the American Bar Association’s Section of Business Law Committee on Legislation. He also deals extensively with the media on clients’ behalf while helping to shape supportive public relations efforts in concert with clients’ communications specialists.”

The AfternicDLS has announced another major expansion of their domain listing service with a dozen new European registrar partners coming on board along with TierraNet (as a DLS Premium Partner), Internic.ca, Rebel.com, DomainsatCost.com and NameScout.com.

The new European partners include DaDaPro, EuroDNS and GroupNBT, a trio that collectively operates 12 separate registrars across Europe (Register.it, Nominalia.com, Names.co.uk, Amen.fr, Amen.pt, AmenWorld.nl, Register365.com, NetNames.com, Easily.co.uk , Speednames.com, Ascio.com and EuroDNS.com). 

Jason Miner
Senior VP, NameMedia
General Manager, AfternicDLS

The registrars will deploy Afternic’s “Instant Transfer” technology, allowing domain buyers the opportunity to purchase a secondary market domain in the purchase path on the registrar’s website by placing the domain in their shopping cart and having the domain in their control within minutes. Combined, these registrars service millions of customers across Europe and worldwide. The new DLS partners will offer their customers access to millions of premium domain names and listing access to the AfternicDLS's global domain marketplace. 

NameMedia Senior Vice President and Afternic General Manager Jason Miner said, “The inclusion of these major registrars in DLS now gives Afternic a presence across Europe. This furthers the goal of creating a unified and efficient secondary market for domains. By bringing value and liquidity to the domain aftermarket we are helping to eliminate barriers to sale—increasing returns for domain sellers and better meeting the needs of domain buyers worldwide.”

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

Chef Patrick's WhoIs Privacy Breach Ignites Blogging Brouhaha But What Happens Next?  

On Tuesday Rick Schwartz published an item on his blog naming Chef Patrick (Patrick Ruddell) as the Moniker employee who was behind a widely publicized WhoIs privacy breach that came to light in December (the employee's name was not released until Schwartz did it this 

week). The news triggered a firestorm of commentary on both men's blogs that is still going on (much of it unfortunately tainted by an indiscriminate mudslinging frenzy propagated in part by anonymous posters who don't know either man personally). 

Ruddell admitted he was responsible but wrote about what he considered to be extenuating circumstances that led him to make what he agreed was a major mistake. Some have sympathized with him, while others remain unsatisfied with how he has handled the situation, further fueling the ongoing debate. Still, the bottom line is that, despite the ancillary allegations, the crucial mistake was his and he has to deal with the repercussions now. 

I don't think a lot has been left unsaid at this point and with most of what I know about this incident  having been told to me off the record by the parties directly involved, I am not at liberty to add more to what is already online.

Patrick Ruddell (Chef Patrick)

The basic details are all out there now though, so the question becomes, when people get tired of talking about it, what happens next?

Ruddell has left Moniker and this week started promoting his second DNCruise conference scheduled for September. He is also involved in the ownership and development of ScienceFiction.com and said he hopes to continue brokering domains, which had been his primary job at Moniker. How much will his business interests be affected by the controversy now swirling around him? 

For the foreseeable future, Ruddell will be a controversial figure but he has built up a lot of good will among fans and friends who will continue to support him with the belief that everyone deserves a second chance. However he will also have to deal with a chorus of detractors who will continually throw this incident in his face at the slightest provocation. Everything he does will be under a microscope for some time.

I personally hope that he is up to the challenge, learns from this bad experience and wins his critics back over with his actions going forward. I do know that he is a good family man (I've seen it first hand - it's not a charade aimed at attracting sympathy during his current travails as some have charged) and I hope things work out for the best for him and his family as time goes on. We are all human and subject to making rash decisions and stupid mistakes and I think most people understand that. So, as bad as the heat in his kitchen is now, Ruddell's story could still have a happy ending. 

For the industry at large, some good could still come out of this affair. As I wrote when talking about this incident in December, it exposed a big weakness in WhoIs Privacy security at the registrars (Moniker in this case, but I suspect the same issue exist at most other registrars too). Too many employees have access to what should be confidential information. I have personally never used WhoIs privacy on a domain and doubt that I ever will, but for those who pay for it - as long as you are paying for privacy (I don't care how large or small the fee is) you should be able to expect privacy

Image: Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

from the registrar selling the product. Some of the more compelling posts in the blog wars gave examples of how the ease of access to this information makes it possible for an  employee to cause all manner of harm to a company's clients.

While common corporate human resources policy prevented Moniker from talking publicly about who was responsible for the breach there and how the employee was dealt with, they could talk about what they plan to do to shore up their WhoIs Privacy service. I think there is an opportunity for them here. Moniker has always been a favorite among domain investors, in no small part because their reputation for rock solid security was golden. I think that makes them the logical registrar to lead with a promise of providing the industry's most stringent security for those buying their WhoIs protection service. This experience shows them and others what needs to be done and looks to me like a rare chance to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear and regain a lot of trust in the process.

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

Top 5 Tips for Domain Sales Success to Be Covered in Free Sedo Webinar This Month - Plus Crowded New gTLD Consulting Space Gets Another Entrant

Sedo is offering a free webinar - 5 Steps to Sales Success - on Wednesday, March 30th at 2pm (U.S. Eastern time). The popular aftermarket venue said the session will show you how to take full advantage of Sedo's global marketplace. In addition to their top 5 tips for sales success, they will be covering how to better promote your domains to increase your chances of completing more sales in less time.

Sedo said step-by-step walk throughs illustrating the ins and outs of their platform will be provided along with an overview of the SedoMLS, the company's multiple listing service that allows you to get your names in front of visitors conducting domain searches at a number of registrars.   

The presentation is expected to run about 30 minutes, with time reserved at the end to answer questions from participants. Sedo said space for the webinar will be limited, so if you are interested in sitting in it would be a good idea to reserve your spot now. You can do that here.

Though ICANN has yet to finalize its much discusses program for rolling out an unlimited number of new gTLDS, the crowd of new companies that want to provide consulting services for new 

gTLD applicants continues to grow by leaps and bounds. The latest to join the fray is Australian registry services provider AusRegistry International. Today they announced a strategic relationship with Crowell and Moring, a leading international law firm with domain industry expertise, to offer a range of consulting and technical registry services to new gTLD applicants. 

AusRegistry International's CEO Adrian Kinderis said, "AusRegistry International is focused on offering new TLD applicants a flexible and fully customized service to address all the complex requirements of ICANN's new TLD process. Working together with Crowell & Moring perfectly complements our services within our new TLD offering and we are extremely proud to be working with such quality partners as we provide world class solutions to support this exciting Internet revolution." 

Elsewhere, Happy 26th birthday wishes go out to Symbolics.com today. That became the first publicly registered domain name in history when it was claimed on March 15, 1985! The landmark domain is now owned by Aron Meystedt's XF.com Investments.

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

DNCruise 2011 to  Feature Outing With Frank Schilling When Ship Docks in Grand Cayman

After a successful maiden voyage in 2010 DNCruise will return September 5-10, 2011 with a Caribbean voyage that will feature a special outing with legendary domainer Frank Schilling when the Carnival ship Inspiration docks near Frank's home in Grand Cayman

DNCruise Founder Patrick Ruddell (Chef Patrick) revealed plans for the event today. It will leave the port of Tampa (on Florida's Gulf Coast) on Monday, September 5, spend Tuesday (Sept. 6) at sea, then arrive in Grand Cayman on Wednesday morning, Sept. 7.  Ruddell said guests will disembark there to join Schilling for a three-hour boating/snorkeling tour that will be followed by a lunch where Frank will speak to the group.

The ship leaves Grand Cayman late Wednesday afternoon for the next leg of the cruise. It will arrive in Cozumel, Mexico on Thursday, Sept. 8 and 


spend the day there. Friday, Sept. 9 will be another day at sea as the Inspiration heads back to Tampa where it will arrive on Saturday morning, Sept. 10 (this year's cruise will be a day longer than last year's). 

Patrick Ruddell
DNCruise Founder

Frank Schilling 
Will greet DNCruise guests in Grand Cayman

Another highlight for 2011 will be a pair of game nights where over $3,000 worth of prizes, including a new Ipad 2, will be given away. The game nights, with drinks provided by sponsors, were one of the most popular events last year (you can see what guests had to say about the 2010 voyage in a series of video clips filmed during that cruise). 

DNCruise is already booking reservations and with Schilling's participation you can expect the rooms to  go quickly. Send an email to Zezura Ruddell - [email protected] - and she’ll get you started. Interior cabins without an ocean view start at $499 per person. Cabins with an ocean view start at $579 per person ((rates are based on two attendees per cabin. If you are traveling alone, DNCruise will pair you with another guest. Private rooms and suites are also available). The price includes all boarding fees, taxes, gratuities, room, food, many cocktails and the excursion with Frank. For more information, check out this FAQ page that answers the most frequently asked questions. 

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

People, Companies & TLDs in the News: Bhavin Turakhia, Alexa Raad, .TV, .AU and Fabulous.com

This has been a busy week with my usual editorial duties mixed in with relatives visiting from out of state and our daughter home on spring break from medical school. So, I wanted to use this bright and beautiful Friday in the Sunshine State to end the week with a round up of some industry news of interest. 

Let's start with major congratulations to Directi Co-Founder Bhavin Turakhia who has just been honored by the World Economic Forum (WEF) as a 2011 Young Global Leader - one of just 190 rapidly rising entrepreneurs selected from 65 different countries for the prestigious honor. Bhavin was one of 12 honorees from India where Directi is based in Mumbai

The WEF said the program is designed to recognize outstanding young leaders from around the world for their professional accomplishments, commitment to society and potential to contribute to shaping the future of the world.

Bhavin and his brother Divyank founded Directi as teenagers in 1998 and have grown it into a powerhouse that is believed to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars (and one that is still growing at a rapid clip). Everyone in the domain industry is familiar with their multiple services including Skenzo, Big Jumbo, DomainAdvertising.com, Reseller Club and LogicBoxes among others. 

Bhavin Turakhia
Co-Founder, Directi

Alexa Raad
CEO, Architelos.com

Alexa Raad, the former CEO of the .Org Registry, announced the formation of a new company Thursday. Architelos is a strategy and market development consultancy focused on the domain name industry. Ms. Raad will serve as the company's CEO with fellow co-founder John Matson, a veteran management consultant to Fortune 500 companies, filling the COO role. 

The company's services will include advising organizations that will be applying for new g TLDs in vertical niches such as banking where there are specific service, technology and security requirements. Architelos will also assist companies in the application process for new TLDs, once the program is finalized. That process, overseen by ICANN, may begin later this year.

Ms. Raad said, “The future landscape of the DNS market will be not only challenging but also promising. Navigating the complexity of these strategic decisions is Architelos’ core strength.”

A big auction of top quality .TV domain names, being conducted by SnapNames and Moniker, in conjunction with Verisign, is currently underway with names including Air.tv, Stocks.tv, Bargains.tv, Lawyers,tv, VA.tv and SW.tv among the domains up for bid. The auction got underway Wednesday and will run through Wednesday, March 23, 2011 at 3:15 p.m. US Eastern Time (12:15 p.m. US Pacific Time). You can find more details on the sale at Moniker.tv.

Australia's .au country code TLD reached a major milestone this week when it hit 2 million registrations. Almost a quarter of a million .au domains have been sold this financial year alone, pushing the extension to record heights. .Au registrations have soared since the central registry, now operated by AusRegistry, relaxed registration requirements, making it easier to obtain .au domains. 

Speaking of Australia, Fabulous.com, the popular registrar based in Brisbane, just announced a new partnership with Enom (the world's largest wholesale registrar) that will have Enom providing backend operations technology for Fab. In an email to customers, Fabulous said 

the deal will allow them to "optimize our registrar technology, freeing us to focus on what has been key to our success - great tools, great support and great customers." The company added, "we expect to be able to implement more features as a result - such as a broader selection of TLDs."

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

Root Orange's New GeoSkipper Tool Allows Anyone to Display Website Content  Tailored to the Visitor's Geographic Location - First Customer is Chicago.com

If you are a regular reader you may recall a story about RootOrange.com in our December 2009 Newsletter. The company had come up with a unique new monetization model that 

allows owners of high quality generic domain names to license use of individual domains to multiple businesses at the same time. RootOrange's geo-targeting technology allows them to funnel a domain's visitors to a business

that is closest to the visitor's location - making it a powerful lead generation tool. As an example, if someone in Chicago typed in DivorceLawyer.com, RootOrange can send that visitor to the site of a divorce lawyer located in their city. That makes it possible for multiple business users to buy exclusive local rights to traffic from domains in the RootOrange system.  

Now, the Root Orange people have come up with a new twist on their original domain-splitting idea. It is a new offering called GeoSkipper that is now in a private beta launch phase. The company says GeoSkipper is the world’s first plug-and-play tool

for website geo-targeting.  The service allows any website to tailor geo-targeted messaging, prices, deals, or just about any content on its site to a visitor's geographic location.

RootOrange/GeoSkipper Co-Founders Camilo Acosta (left) 
& Frank Langston 
presenting in the 2010 DOMAINfest 
Global Pitchfest
competition where Root Orange beat out 
seven other companies to win the People's Choice Award for Best New Domain Monetization platform.

While geo-targeting technology has been around for several years, the company says this is the first time that non-developers will be able to easily do it themselves. Co-Founder Camilo Acosta said, "The same way that Wordpress made blog and website creation accessible to the masses, GeoSkipper makes geo-targeting easy for everyone. With GeoSkipper, you no longer have to be a Fortune 500 company to do it."

Acosta added that geo-targeting, like other types of web personalization, increases engagement 

with web visitors and lead to higher conversion rates. He said that even simple changes, like adapting web copy to each visitors’ city, region, or country, can have a huge impact on how long web visitors stay on the site and whether they make a purchase. 

GeoSkipper’s first customer is Chicago.com, which is using the tool to display its real estate affiliate module to Chicago area visitors and flight and hotel affiliate modules to everyone outside of Chicago. Chicago.com chairman Josh Metnick said, “Being able to target our home page to our visitors’ geographic location gives us a huge boost in affiliate conversions.  It was a no-brainer once GeoSkipper made it easy for us." 

GeoSkipper Co-Founder Frank Langston said the appeal of the technology is not limited to businesses. “Our first batch of customers range from non-profits to e-commerce businesses to grassroots political organizations, it really runs the gamut,” Langston said. 

Chicago.com Chairman Josh Metnick

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

An "Un-Conference" - The 1st Domain Boardroom Funfest - Slated for Myrtle Beach in August

Our latest monthly newsletter is currently being sent out to several thousand opt-in email subscribers (it is also available online here). This month we take a look into how the new local and regional domain meetings popping up around the U.S. (and beyond) are helping fuel further growth in the domain  

industry. We used the first Rocky Mountain Domain Conference that was held Feb. 26, 2011 in Denver as a prime example.

The growth of special interest domain meetings is also growing beyond the local/regional category. Successful gatherings have been held for IDN enthusiasts, developers and fans of specific TLDs, etc. I recently got word of another event planned for this summer that will be centered around (but not limited to) members of Donna Mahony's popular private domain forum - DomainBoardroom.com

The first Domain Boardroom Funfest has been scheduled for August 5-8, 2011 in beautiful Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Donna is getting a big assist with Funfest arrangements from Myrtle Beach resident Marcia Lynn Walker (both Donna and Marcia were featured in our February 2005 Cover Story).

Marcia said this event should actually be thought of as "un-conference" - no fees, no structured stuff -  just all networking with most all the meetings/parties onboard the beloved "pirate ship" that Marcia and her husband Warren own. They also plan to take people to a couple of local deserted, private islands for some of the festivities. With a membership roster that reads like an industry who's who, the Domain Boardroom event is shaping up to be one of the summer's highlights. 

One other note today - Sedo has announced an expansion of their SedoMLS beta program that opens the aftermarket sales platform's doors to domains with the .co (Colombia), .it (Italy) and .nl (Netherlands) extensions. SedoMLS is Sedo’s global instant-transfer domain sales network, which allows SedoPro members additional exposure for their names listed for sale. SedoPro members are encouraged to contact their account manager for more information on how they can become a part of the SedoMLS network.

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

Registrar Name.com Releases Free Full Service Android App - First to Offer Back Ordering By Mobile Phone (iPhone Version in the Works)

Name.com has long been one of the domain industry's most innovative registrars. The Denver based company has burnished that reputation by releasing a free new mobile phone app for Android (an iPhone version is also in the works). Name.com becomes one of only a few ICANN 

accredited registrars that offer domain registration apps and the world's first with mobile back ordering capability. The full service app also offers domain search, registration, privacy and DNS management. To encourage people to download the new app, for the next six months Name.com will be providing a year of free Whois privacy with each mobile registration. 

Owen Borseth, Name.com's Senior Software Engineer and lead developer on the app said, "We wanted our app to offer more than just registration and domain management features. Our domain name backorder service, Domain Nabber, is one of our most popular services, so it was a great addition." 

For those wondering why Name.com released an Android app before one for Apple's popular iPhone, Name.com Founder and CEO Bill  

Mushkin said, "We chose to develop an Android app first because it really spoke to the core of our open source roots and the fact that we have a large international customer base. With the Android operating system's rapid global growth, we can now reach customers whose primary access to the Internet is not their computer, but their mobile phone, and provide them with all the tools they need." Though they developed their Android app first, the company confirmed that an iPhone version is coming soon, as well as a fully optimized Name.com site for mobile phone users.

Mushkin founded Name.com in 2003 and, with more than 50 different domain extensions available for registration, it has since become one of the top registrars in the world with over 1 million domains under management.

On other note today - The Domain Roundtable conference closed this morning when attendees began heading home from the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas. The final event on the show's business agenda was Thursday afternoon's Aftermarket.com live domain auction, an event that produced just under $200,000 in sales. 33 of the 64 names up for bid were sold - giving Aftermarket.com an impressive sell-through rate of over 50%. The top sales were Coed.com ($45,000), Cam.net ($31,000) and TravelBags.com ($17,000)

Though the conference is over, the domain sale continues with an extended auction, featuring all of the domains that did not sell in the live session, remaining up for bid until Thursday (March 10).

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

Mike Robertson, Jen Sale, Adam Strong, Paul Keating & Bill Vanderent Join Forces As Domain Guardians

In Late January two well-known and widely respected executives from Fabulous.com, Mike Roberston and Jen Sale, announced they were ending their long relationship with the company to start up a domain-related venture of their own. This morning Robertson and Sale revealed what that venture will be - a new company called Domain Guardians that the Aussie duo formed with three other highly experienced industry experts; Adam Strong, Paul Keating and Bill Vanderent

Strong is a veteran domain investor 

Jen Sale and Michael Robertson 
Co-founders of Domain Guardians

who also co-founded DomainNameNews.com, Keating, of Law.es, is one of the most accomplished attorneys in the domain industry and Vanderent was the CIO/CTO of Fabulous.com's parent company, Dark Blue Sea, until last fall. 

Domain Guardians will be an ICANN accredited registrar that will also provide domain estate planning and management services to domain professionals. The team will be launching the company and services at the upcoming ICANN Silicon Valley conference in San Francisco that will run March 13-18, 2011

The combination of Dark Blue Sea alumni, Robertson, Sale and Vanderent, along with Strong and Keating, offers over 50 years of combined experience in the domain industry. Robertson, who served as Fabulous.com's Business Development Director, said ""Working with a group of this caliber is humbling, and we’re all very excited to offer the domain community a comprehensive suite of services that provide real value." 

As one of its key offerings, Domain Guardians has developed a program called Domain Legacy to technically and legally protect and manage domain assets in the event of a portfolio owner’s death or disability. This is a service that many have long wanted to see and now a credible team of trusted industry veterans will provide it. 

Keating noted, "No one lives forever and most domain investors are not planning enough for the future. Managing domains across multiple registrars and monetization providers is a daunting task. It requires a great deal of skill developed on the back of years that may include lost opportunities, missteps and other failures. What will happen to the asset base and income streams when the manager is no longer "there" because of a death or disability? How will our survivors cope in an industry where contacts and experiences are shared by word of mouth?"

Veteran domain professional Adam Strong added, "Like other domain investors, I've thought, 'Who'll take care of my domains when I'm gone?'... I'll be transferring my assets to my loved ones, who unfortunately don't have the skills or desire to continue managing my business. It gives me peace of mind to know that they can trust the 

Attorney Paul Keating
Co-Founder, Domain Guardians

expertise of Domain Guardians to do this for them. Every domain investor with a valuable portfolio should protect the future of that portfolio."

For more information on Domain Guardians, or to arrange a meeting with the team at ICANN, you can send an email to [email protected]

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

New Wall Street Journal Feature Puts Rob Grant Back in the Spotlight - Dan Kimball Cashes in with DNS.com - .Org Celebrates 9 Million Registrations

While I was away on a South Florida visit Friday, the Wall Street Journal ran a new feature piece spotlighting a special listing from real estate domain pioneer Rob Grant's AdirondackRealEstate.com website. The property represented by Rob's company that the WSJ showcased is Kilkenny Lodge - a magnificent Adirondack lodge built in 1901-02 as part of a summer compound for William Kingsley, a New York banker who became president of the U.S. Trust Company.

The lodge was selected for the spotlight in a new interactive WSJ feature that will be showcasing unique properties from around the world. Readers are invited to go online at WSJ.com/realestate to
post their guess as to how much the house will sell for - and when. The Wall Street Journal will track the Kilkenny Lodge listing for the next 6 months to see which reader comes closest to 

Rob Grant

the final sales price if and when the property finds a buyer. For the record Grant is quoted as saying he expects the lodge to sell for close to the $690,000 asking price in mid or late summer.

Kilkenny Lodge - what will Rob Grant sell it for?

The building has over 4,200 square feet and features seven bedrooms, six baths, hardwood floors, wood paneling, massive stone fireplaces, a private study and library, and a spectacular 80-foot long porch that stretches along the entire length of the lodge. The property is situated on a very private 2.3 acre plot surrounded by woods and streams with magnificent views of the surrounding mountains.
At 690k (less than the price of a number of individual domain sales we have seen over the past year)  I could see any one of a number of domainer investors adding this property to their real world asset portfolio.

While I am playing catch up, I wanted to congratulate Dan Kimball of DNS.com on the sale of the managed domain name system (DNS) services provider he co-founded to Comodo.com. Kimball, who also served as CEO for  DNS.com, also joins Comodo to continue the development of its next generation of DNS services.

Comodo offers a range of software products for enterprises to create trust online, including multi-factor authentication, and PCI/vulnerability scanning. DNS.com plays a key role in directing and managing Internet traffic, including the availability and security of websites and email. The company’s global network of name servers helps visitors get improved performance from websites, content, and applications, ensuring that websites perform optimally. The acquisition of DNS.com gives Comodo the ability to immediately roll out secured DNS to the company’s large base of business customers who require such a solution. 

Dan Kimball

One other note today - the operator of the .Org registry - Public Interest Registry (PIR) - has announced that the popular TLD has passed the 9 million registrations mark. .Org grew over 10% in 2010 alone. Brian Cute, CEO of .ORG, said “Hitting the 9 million registration mark is a testament to 

both .ORG’s reputation and its impact within the Internet community. .ORG remains a community-driven platform and has become the domain of choice for organizations, individuals, and companies to channel their passion toward a shared purpose with their community.”

I have always been a fan of .orgs. They are highly trusted by web surfers and proper keywords for the extension are usually accompanied by a steady flow of traffic. That being the case, the continued rapid growth of the TLD comes as no surprise to me.  

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

L.A. Times Says Legionella Bacteria Found in a Water Source at the Playboy Mansion 

Test results are finally starting to trickle in that are adding credence to the suspicion that dozens of people who fell ill after attending last month's DOMAINfest Global conference in 

Los Angeles may have been exposed to legionella pneumophila bacteria at the Playboy Mansion, the site of the show's closing night party. Today the Los Angeles Times reported that public health officials investigating the illness outbreak have found legionella bacteria in an unnamed water source at the Mansion. However, the Times added that officials have not yet ruled out other bacteria or viruses, because Legionella bacteria are commonly found in moist environments.

There are two strains of legionella pneumophila, a severe one that causes the infamous Legionnaire's Disease and a milder version that causes Pontiac Fever (an illness that is also discussed on the CDC's Legionnaire's Disease page linked to above). One of those who fell ill, Shane Cultra, wrote on his blog Saturday that lab tests confirmed he had contracted Pontiac Fever. Many others have had lab tests done and are still waiting for results that can take several weeks to come back.

Image: Sura Nualpradid / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

This new report that legionella bacteria was found at the Mansion has spurred other state and local health departments to start contacting people in their areas who fell ill after returning home from Los Angeles. This afternoon, a representative from the Florida Department of Health called my wife, Diana, who was among those who fell ill (I did not). He wanted to know all of the details about what happened in L.A., the symptoms she experienced and the treatment her doctor prescribed for her. Like many, Diana was given antibiotics and she quickly improved after going on them (antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections - not viral like the flu). Clearly, public officials throughout the U.S. are taking this very seriously and more answers should be forthcoming soon as additional test results come in.

Back in the domain business world, Verisign has released their latest quarterly Domain Name Industry Brief, covering the fourth quarter of 2010. The quarter closed with a base of 205.3 million domain name registrations across all Top Level Domains (TLDs). That is a 1.7% increase over the third quarter of 2010 and a 6.3% jump year-over-year, representing an increase of 12.1 million domain names. The report is packed with other useful data so I highly recommend downloading the full brief for all of the details.

One other note today - a reminder that the Domain Roundtable conference gets underway this evening with a Welcome Reception at the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas. Attendees will get down to business Wednesday morning with an opening session on Tactics for Successful Branding. You can see the complete conference agenda here

Unfortunately, previous commitments will keep me from covering the show - one that has always been among my favorite events. I only missed one previous Roundtable (in 2005 when my daughter was graduating from high school at the same time the conference ran). 

The Thought Convergence team that puts on the event, led by Laura Schmidt with the full support of the company's top executives, Kevin Vo and Ammar Kubba, always produces a top 

notch conference and I am envious of those who are in the Bahamas for this week's show. Fortunately, our friend Morgan Linton, who will be speaking Thursday, plans to cover Roundtable on his blog, so we can all stay abreast of highlights through his efforts.

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

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