Domain Industry News

$500,000 Offer for LI.com

Newsday is reporting that the Al Triolo, owner of LI.com has received a $500,000 offer for the name through Sedo.

Domain names dominate Internet real estate

I would love to have the luxery of passing on a half million dollar offer, but I believe this name is worth more than the offer. Two letter domain names are the rarest .com names availavle (676 total), and on the rare occasion that one comes on the market, it is usually of lesser quality, and those are usually sold for over $100,000.

Most two letter .com names are fully developed and associated with businesses, such as JR.com, BA.com, and NV.com. I think the owner should hold out for an offer that fully values his domain name, and that would probably be over $1 million.

Boston Globe: Virtual Brokers Yield Real Profits

Nice article about domain investing in the Boston Globe today:

Online Domain Name Game Yields Real Profits for Virtual Brokers

It’s always nice to see a positive article in the mainstream media about domain name investments and why companies are paying large sums of money for them. It’s kinda crazy to think about how Beer.com went from being sold for $80,000 to $7,000,000 in less than 4 months. It goes to show you that many generic domain names have considerable value – it’s just a matter of finding the company that values it highest.

Users Prefer Direct Navigation Over Search Engines

Users Prefer Direct Navigation Over Search Engines

It’s nice to see a mainstream media outlet like DM News acknowledging what domain investors have known for years: direct navigation traffic converts better than search engine traffic. People usually know exactly what they want when they type the term into their browser rather than in a search engine, and well-optimized parked pages give users relevant links to what they want. As I said on my website,

“A person who types exactly what they are looking for into their browser is a more valuable prospect than a person using a search engine. This person knows exactly what they want, and if the website can provide the information that this person is seeking, then they benefit, as does the owner of that site. It can be the most cost effective way to generate targeted leads.”

If a large company owned the .com of the keyword(s) being searched, they wouldn’t have to pay for a click, nor would they have to compete against competitors. I think Hotels.com is a perfect example of a company owning a keyword instead of paying handsomely for the same traffic. The purchase of the Hotels.com domain name is the key to their success.

Acknowledging the Anti-Cybersquatting Act

According to Josh Bourne of the newly formed Coalition Against Domain Name Abuse (CADNA), over 22,000 domain names are infringing upon Apple’s iPhone trademark. This problem was originally identified on Jay Westerdal’s blog earlier this month. In many cases, I would bet Bourne is accurate, and this is a huge problem for generic domain investors. The amount of Ebay auctions for iPhone-related domain names clearly show that many of these people are buying iPhone-related names in order to make a profit from Apple’s iPhone trademark. Alternatively, many of these domain names are currently parked and earning PPC revenue. This makes it very easy for people outside of the domain investment business to label ALL domain owners/investors as cybersquatters. The major discrepancy I have is that there ARE legitmate uses for iPhone domain names (forums, tools, fixes…etc) that don’t intend to profit from the trademark. For this blog post, my intent is to only highlight the illegitimate uses of trademarks in domain names.

I’m not a judge of character, but this type of low hanging fruit is easy for the CADNA people to grab and gain the support of large companies and the mainstream, which can be seen simply by viewing the listing of industry giants that are members of their organization.

In my opinion, there are two different types of cybersquatters:
1) People who don’t know about the Lanham Act and are unaware that are committing a crime when they blatantly register a domain name BECAUSE it’s of value due to the trademark.
2) People who believe the revenue from their trademark domain names outweigh the risks of owning them.

There are also reasons why trademarked names are profitable:
1) People register these names and put them for sale on sites like Ebay because other people actually bid on them, creating a market for this type of name. People bid on these names because they are either stupid, uninformed, risk takers, or all of the above.
2) Large search companies actually provide PPC payouts to owners of TM domain names. If TM domain names weren’t profitable on their own, people wouldn’t waste their money and take unnecessary risks.
3) Registrars don’t prohibit people from registering trademarks (other than their own, of course). Although it would be a subjective process, nothing to my knowledge prevents people from registering trademarks. This would be bad, because the folks at Apple Vacations, for example, would have unfairly run into problems when they registered their domain name. Perhaps blocking the obvious trademarks (like Microsoft, Google, Yahoo…etc) would help fix things, although that too could be considered infringement on freedom of speech.

In my opinion, a majority of trademark inclusive domain names aren’t owned by malicious people, but rather those who don’t know it is against the law. As a measure against unlawfully registering a domain name with a trademark, what if registrars required consumers to check off a box acknowledging that they are aware of the Lanham Act and its penalties before every registration? Perhaps even a brief summary of the law along with the possible penalties of owning/selling/profiting from a trademarked name would act as a deterrent to people who may be unknowingly committing a crime.

I have seen beginner domain investors posting on domain forums, and many are shocked/scared when they read about the ramifications of being sued for violating the Lanham Act. As much as the domain investment community has grown, there are countless people trying to make money in it who may not know the laws, and by giving them a copy of the law (either in full legal terminology or in layman’s terms), they may reconsider at the point of purchase.

Free .mobi Domain Name!

I received an interesting email promotion from Network Solutions today.

“Register a new .com, .net, .org, .biz, .info, .us or .name domain name extension for any term and get a free .mobi domain name for a 1-year term.”

I guess they have resorted to just giving .mobi names away. I use my Blackberry’s web browser all the time, but I have not had the need or desire to use the .mobi extension. Even though the Weather Channel has a “mobile compatible” website at Weather.mobi, I can still access my local weather by using Weather.com on my Blackberry. I still don’t see a need for this extension.

Great PR Opportunity

I think it would be an AWESOME opportunity for either domain investors with connections or the ICA to step in and help this Congressman retrieve his domain name at registration fee cost to him.

http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_6369057

To sum this up, the first term congressman had his domain name expire (not close to being a generic/defensible name), and someone bought it and has pornographic PPC links up at Sedo. According to the article, everytime the staff called Sedo to attempt to buy it, the price increased. Although the congressman should have renewed his domain name, he is nice enough not to file a UDRP or lawsuit, which would have proliferated the public opinion that all domain investors have bad intentions. Is there any way we can help? How can we help? This is an opportunity to show that there is only a small percentage of people in this business who aren’t ethical, and the rest of us are hard working people not not trying to profit off of an innocent mistake or in tragedy in too many cases (VA Tech, Katrina, Columbine…etc way too many to name).

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