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Daily Poll: Do You Check All of Your PPC Landers?

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I was looking through the WIPO UDRP filings and saw a UDRP filed against a seemingly generic Costa.com domain name. The UDRP was filed by the company that operates Costa Cruises. While UDRPs going after generic (and valuable) domain names are a relatively rare occurrence, it is still a bit disappointing to see them.

That being said, the cruise company could have a better shot to win this UDRP than other companies have when going after descriptive domain names like this one appears to be. When I visited the domain name yesterday and today, I saw PPC links related to cruises. I can see why Costa Cruises would be upset about the domain name. Depending on the details that will be revealed in the UDRP responses, this could be a tough UDRP to defend.

Domain owners should be cautious when using parked pages. A domain name may be generic in nature, but if PPC links infringe on another entity’s trademarks, it could be problematic for the domain owner. For instance, a domain owner could easily and defensible own Apples.com if it was selling apples or advertising a pick your own apple orchard. What likely would be harder to defend is a PPC lander with links to phones and computers.

PPC technology is pretty good. Parking company tech can show advertising it believes is relevant based on the keywords. Sometimes this doesn’t consider trademark implications, which is obviously something a domain owner should consider. When auto-generated PPC links optimize revenue, they may expose the domain name and domain owner to a legal threat.

For today’s poll, I would like to know if domain owners check all of their PPC pages, none of their PPC pages, or only their pages they believe could be a grey area for trademark issues. If you do something else, that would be interesting to know in the comment section:



Looks Like Intercontinental Exchange Acquired ICE.com for $3.5m

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I was unable to participate in the press conference call held to announce the $3.5 million sale of Ice.com. Before the news of the domain name sale broke on DNJournal and other outlets, I had a couple of guesses about who may have been behind the purchase, but the buyer was not named.

In the DNJournal article, Ron wrote about how brokers Brian Harbin of Grit Brokerage and David Clements of Brannans put the deal together:

“After buying a few other domains through Harbin’s Grit Brokerage in the same price range, this person wound up calling on Harbin to sell a domain for him but this one was a blockbuster – Ice.com. Harbin had done some previous deals with Clements and contacted him about this exciting new listing. Clements happened to have an acquaintance he had met at a private event in his hometown, Atlanta, that he thought might have an interest in the domain. When Clements presented the opportunity to obtain the domain the buyer jumped on it, agreeing to the full $3.5 million asking price. Working with Escrow.com it then took them barely a week to complete the transaction which happened on July 6. “

After reading that quote, I did a Google search for ICE and Atlanta, and one of the top results was for Intercontinental Exchange, a company that is headquartered in Atlanta. A bit of additional sleuthing showed that the company also owned and used TheICE.com. Based on this and Ron’s article, my → Read More


Daily Poll: Do You Accept a Good Opening Offer?

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It doesn’t happen often (enough), but sometimes a motivated buyer makes a very good opening offer that is acceptable right off the bat. The challenge with a good opening offer is whether to accept the offer or push back and try to get an even better offer.

There are a couple of schools of thought here.

Accepting the offer right away could theoretically cause the buyer to think he opened too high and might try to walk back the offer. By accepting, the domain owner has essentially set a ceiling should the buyer decide to walk back the opening offer by making an excuse (“Sorry, the board did not approve but we can offer $x instead”). On the other hand, should the buyer be ethical, accepting it right away could get a deal closed rather than giving the buyer time to seek out something else at a better price.

On the other hand, not accepting the opening offer could present an opportunity to sell a domain name for even more than anticipated. Most buyers don’t make the best offer as their opening offer. Even if the buyer thinks the offer is great, getting push back could cause them to make a better offer to get a deal closed. Accepting an opening offer could leave money on the table.

Whenever an offer is rejected or pushed back, there is always the risk of losing the offer.

Today’s poll asks whether you accept a good opening offer:



Domain Name from Company With $215m+ in Funding in Auction

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A big auction on GoDaddy Auctions caught my attention this morning. Lytro.com, which GoDaddy appraises at $18,765, is in auction with a high bid of $41,500. There are 20 bidders who have participated so far. It appears the domain name expired, based on the “Renew Now” message seen at the top of the landing page filled with pay per click advertising:

From my perspective, Lytro.com as a domain name doesn’t have a whole lot of meaning that I can see, so I was curious about what could be causing the substantial interest in the domain name.

Apparently, Lytro was a well-funded company at one point. Crunchbase reports the total funding for the company at $215.8 million. According to a 2015 Business Insider article discussing a pivot, “Lytro has raised $140 million since its 2011 founding from investors including Allen & Company, GSV Capital, Danhua Capital, K9 Ventures, Greylock Partners, North Bridge Growth Equity & Venture Partners, New Enterprise Associates, and Andreessen Horowitz.”

Despite its substantial funding, it would appear that things → Read More


Daily Poll: Is It Ethical to Contact Newsletter Sellers Later?

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There are several domain name brokerage newsletters that offer great domain names for sale. Oftentimes, the pricing is geared towards end user buyers rather than domain investors. Even so, I enjoy receiving these newsletters so I can see what is coming on the market at what prices.

As time goes by, I look through old newsletters. Sometimes this is because I recognize the domain name used by a startup had been offered for sale months or years prior and I want to see the price it was listed at. Sometimes I see a name sell or a name come on the market that I recall seeing in an older newsletter and a Gmail search brings up the old listing for me.

Today’s daily poll is about ethics. Do you think it is ethical for a buyer to contact the owner of a domain name that had been listed in a newsletter you received? Should you go through the broker instead? Obviously, I would not contact a domain owner about a domain name that was in a newsletter today, last week, last month, or even a couple of months ago. The domain owner would likely be contractually bound to forward my inquiry to the broker, and that would be embarrassing if the broker thought I was trying to work a deal around him or her. I am talking about after a reasonable time has passed.

Ethics aside for a moment, it might be → Read More


Report: Identity.com Acquired by Crypto Company

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Yesterday evening, CoinDesk published an article that touched on what seems to be a major domain name acquisition. According to the report, a company in the crypto and blockchain space called Civic (which owns and uses Civic.com) acquired the Identity.com domain name for an undisclosed purchase price.

According to my records, Media Options was recently brokering Identity.com via its domain sales newsletter. On May 3rd and on July 5th, Identity.com was listed for sale with a $1.5 million asking price. The description for the domain name listing was: “A titan of a brand, once in a lifetime opportunity for a domain like this!” It sure seems like Vinny Lingham, co-founder and CEO of Civic, felt the same way about Identity.com.

I reached out to Civic to see if the company could comment on the acquisition. → Read More


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