Domain Industry News

PPC Impact of LowerMyBills Lowering Its Ad Bill

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LowerMyBills Lowers Its Ad Bill

People have been speculating about what impact the struggling mortgage market will have on PPC advertising, a source of revenue for many domain owners. New York Times blogger Brad Stone blogs about how Experian’sLowerMyBills.com has reduced its web advertising in light of the recent mortgage crunch.

While LowerMyBills.com is a big internet advertiser, I don’t believe there will be a major impact on PPC revenue. While the mortgage market is under pressure due to subprime mortgage borrowers defaulting on their loans, other types of mortgages are still in high demand. I believe other advertisers will fill the void, competing for the lower risk (and higher value) mortgages in the form of keyword bidding. I don’t own many high performance mortgage domain names, but it would be interesting to see if there has been an impact on revenue.

Hijacking Domain Names for $200

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Sahar shows us why it is of utmost importance to protect your email accounts in his blog entry, “Hijack A Domain For 200$.” Apparently there is a website out there that can says it can get any email account password if you pay them $200. To prevent your domain names from being hijacked, Sahar recommends:

“to have your domain either on your own registrar or with one of the top registrars for professional domainers such as Moniker.com or Fabulous.com, and ask them for personal attention for any sort of transfer away of your domains from their registrars.”


I don’t know whether domain hijacking is happening more often or if it’s just becoming more publicized, but I have heard quite a bit about this lately. In fact, I received a poorly written email from an unknown person about a good name that was for sale. I checked and the name was registered to a company of the same name, so it seemed odd that it was for sale. I did a whois check, same info for the past 8+ years; However, the day before, the email address changed to a Hotmail account with all other info the same. I called Network Solutions in addition to the owner to warn her and left a voicemail. The next day, I received a thank you email as another domain investor also called and spoke with her, detailing what he thought happened. Because of quick thinking, we were able to save a nice lady from losing her name.

Here are some tips I would like to add to help prevent you from buying a stolen domain name:

1.) Do a Whois history check
-Did anything recently change?
-Does something seem strange in the Whois history like a different email address just added?
-Length of domain name ownership is a good way to tell if someone has all rights to the name

2.) Call the listed owner
-If the email address just changed, the owner will tell you the name isn’t for sale
-Conversation is frequently avoided by scammers

3.) Call/email the former owner
-They will tell you if they sold it (or if it was stolen)

4.) Search the forums/Google for any information that may raise red flags
-Stolen domain name posts
-Spam references on Google

5.) Do a WIPO/UDRP search
-May not be a anti-theft tool, but just make sure the history is clean

6.) Always pay with Escrow
Escrow.com, Sedo, Moniker or Afternic offer this service

7.) Never pay with money order or cashier’s check
-Difficult to track
-Many scams involve counterfeit checks/money orders

8.) Only buy from the listed registrant
-Don’t attempt to buy from the technical contact if it’s different from the registrant
-Technical contact doesn’t necessarily own the name, but may just manage the domain name

9.) TRUST YOUR GUT!
-If an offer is too good to be true, it probably is
-If the terms the seller is requesting seem strange, question them

ESPN acquires Scrum.com

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ESPN acquires Scrum.com
ESPN announced that it acquired a Rugby news site, Scrum.com, which attracts half a million visitors a month during the peak season. With this acquisition, ESPN has again reached out to attract a foreign audience of sports fans loyal to a particular website. Previously, ESPN acquired Cricinfo.com, a popular cricket website, and they manage ESPNSoccernet.com, a multi-language soccer website.I wouldn’t expect to see major changes to the Scrum.com now that it is owned by ESPN. The website became popular due to its unique content and perspective, and I doubt ESPN would want to mess with the format. I expect that they will integrate some of their content and add links to their own site as well as Scrum.com to encourage viewers to add ESPN to their daily “must read” list. This will help lengthen the amount of time users stay on the website, which is a good way to increase advertisers’ value and ultimately spend.

.NV.com Addresses – Subdomaining Success

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‘nv.com’ addresses draw strong response
I believe we are going to see subdomain sales more and more in the future. Owners of prime domain names similarly broad like nv.com may look to increase their potential revenue streams in the coming months and years. If a great generic domain name isn’t yielding the ppc revenue desired, why not sell subdomains? I am not a technical expert, so I don’t know how much work is involved in creating and managing subdomains, but I am sure it is “doable.”Not only is the domain registry generating $50/year in registration revenue (with a 2 year minimum commitment), there are plenty of upsell opportunities – hosting services, web development/design services, email accounts…etc. They can essentially print their own money since there are countless subdomain opportunities with each extension.

I have a couple of suggestions to help the .nv registry grow even bigger:

1) Incentivize owners to develop their subdomains. The more successful, developed websites there are in the .nv.com extension, the more other companies will want their own. Offering discounted web design services, long-term registration discounts or registration rebates may do the trick.

2) Open an office in Nevada and make it even easier for people to buy their subdomain names. Believe it or not, a majority of the people out there don’t know how to register a domain name – let alone manage it. If they make buying a subdomain a simple process with an easy to reach account manager, more people might sign up. Also, it would make more sense for the “Nevada Registry” to be located in Nevada.

3) Hire a staff of sales people to sell the subdomains door-to-door. Equip each of them with a laptop and wireless access to allow registrations on the fly. Set-up a sales booth at malls, fairs, or anywhere else that people may congregate in order to get the word out. The primary target audience is businesses in Nevada, but the sub-target should be citizens of Nevada.

The one downside to subdomains that I see is that doing this is a long-term commitment to this type of business plan. Once people begin buying their subdomains, it may be very difficult for the owner to change direction without litigious implications. However, if the ownership nv.com wanted to do this, it could conceivably develop NV.com into something else while maintaining the subdomains for their customers.

Working With CADNA

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I think there are reasons why people might want to consider supporting CADNA in their public goal of defeating cybersquatters and domain tasting/kiting. I believe most of the big organizations that support CADNA are simply trying to protect their brands/trademarks rather than go after generic domain names. Although Dell probably would kill for Computers.com or CustomComputers.com, they are more interested in making sure a typo name like DelComputer.com isn’t owned by someone other than them.

Dell (and similar companies) believe when a web surfer types that in to their browser, they are actually trying to get to Dell, so why should they have to pay to correct the error, and why should a cybersquatter be able to direct traffic to other computer companies when the person is looking for Dell and not someone else?

On their press release, CADNA stated, Cybersquatting is defined “as the bad-faith registration of a domain name that includes or is confusingly similar to someone else’s trademark.” This leads me to believe they want to protect trademark holders from obvious infringing domain names. As it stands at the present time, the domain tasting loophole basically allows people to register domain names for 5 days or less, and then they can drop these names. They are able to test the traffic, and they can make business decisions on which names to keep based on traffic, revenue, and of course the risk in owning it.

As of yet, trademark holders have been unable to act fast enough to respond to domain tasters, and that is where the problem is. I think there are significant hurdles that need to be overcome, as there is much grey area. For example, would Dell believe that a name like Del.com infringed on their trademark simply because the spelling was similar? I know that Dell owns Del.com, but what if they didn’t and the name were parked? There are many examples like this, and those would have to be overcome.

However, in the short run, I think it would be in our best interest to work alongside with CADNA, to ensure domain owner rights are kept in mind, while trying to stop people who blatantly trample on the rights of trademark holders using the domain tasting loophole.

Fave.com – An Example of Cybersquatting??

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According to an article in Business Week, Fave.com is apparently “held by a cybersquatter.” On the second page of staff writer Kerry Miller’s article, “Does Success Hinge on a Domain Name“, the author states:

“And while the naming process is typically most fraught for Web-based businesses that consider their Web addresses central to their branding, domain-name availability is becoming a key consideration for other new businesses, too. Jon and Jeff Seymour found that Persona, their first-choice name for their localized Web browser, was already trademarked. Their second choice, Fave, wasn’t

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