General Domain Information

Hecta Media Goes Public on AIM

Hecta Media LogoI received an email from Clark Landry, a person who I had a nice conversation with at Ad:Tech. Clark is the CEO of Hecta Media, which just went public on the London AIM exchange. Hecta Media is a company whose purpose is to acquire and make investments in profitable niche content websites and domain portfolios.

According to Landry, the founders, (Clark Landry and Fred Krueger), are serial entrepreneurs who have founded or provided seed investment for a variety of internet content companies and advertising networks including TagWorld, Adconion, Traffic Marketplace, and iwin.com, among others. Said Landry, “Hecta Media is interested in acquiring premium domain portfolios and niche developed content websites.”

From the press release following their first day of trading provided via email:

“The directors of Hecta Media Inc (AIM: HCTA), a web consolidator, are pleased to announce that all of the Company’s 162,266,456 Ordinary Shares have today been admitted for trading on AIM valuing the Company at £6.5 million.

Hecta Media is a British Virgin Islands (”BVI”) registered company whose purpose is to make broadly distributed investments in niche content web sites and vertically targeted, branded domains. Using a combination of Ordinary Shares and cash to make targeted acquisitions, the Company intends to build a portfolio of high-traffic websites monetized through search and display advertising. Hecta Media will focus its efforts on active investment in websites and domains established in the UK, continental Europe, and the United States. The websites in which Hecta Media intends to invest will typically be simple, profitable businesses with few employees and positive cash flow. Hecta Media aims to consolidate a number of such websites across a few specific verticals, with the purpose of creating advantages of scale in each vertical market. The Directors intend that Hecta Media will acquire sites by offering a combination of cash and Ordinary Shares to the owners of the sites, providing fungible assets to owners looking for a suitable exit strategy by which to realize the value of the businesses they have created. The Directors consider that current market conditions provide good opportunities for investment in a wide variety of suitable websites which can meet Hecta Media’s strategic objectives – the Company having recently raised GBP4.67 mill ion.”

Congratulations to Clark and the rest of his management team. The domain industry is full of opportunity!

More information about Hecta Media can be found in an article in The Independent.

“Brandable” vs. Generic Domain Names

I frequently see people trying to sell “brandable” domain names. To most experienced domain investors, brandable suggests that you need to explain what the name means and why you think it is valuable, which usually means a difficult time selling it. In most cases, brandable names aren’t good buys, especially as a short term investment.

By nature, copywriters, art directors and others involved in the creative process are very attached to their ideas. Deep down, almost every creative person wants to win a Cannes Lion, Clio or an Echo, and they want to win because of their idea. They want to be inspired from deep within themselves rather than developing someone else’s idea. I don’t think it makes sense that some domain investors think that a cool/hip sounding domain name will help inspire a marketing campaign or product name, which would seem to be the reason to register it.

On the other side, some people register these names hoping that a company will use that particular term or phrase in a new product and then seek them out to buy it. While I know of a couple people who did have success with this, there are many more brandable domain names registered than companies willing to buy them. It’s like buying a lottery ticket. Sure, once in a while it may be a good idea or even pay off, but more often than not, you will end up wasting your money.

In my opinion, if you can’t afford to buy a high value keyword name and choose to register new names instead, I recommend sticking with generic keyword phrases. Put two or three related keywords together to try and create strong sounding names. Use “quoted Google searches” to see how many references that term has in Google. Generally, the more references, the more interest in that particular topic. State specific keywords can be good, too.

Registering new names can be a thrill. Knowing what to register is what can save you hundreds of dollars.

.Mobi Madness = .Mobi Sickness

Wow…. I just spent the last half hour of my life reading Frank’s, Jay’s, Rick’s and Sahar’s blogs along with posts on a couple of forums about .mobi domain names and my head is spinning. I don’t understand why <some> people who have invested in .mobi feel the need to defend it like they are defending their children or family. Well, I guess I know why they feel the need, but it’s painful to watch.

It’s a freaking extension. If marketers promote it, investors will probably make money. If not, investors better hope they aren’t holding the bag like many of the speculators who bought names in other little used extensions. I don’t want to hear any more about bofa, disney, skype….etc. None of that means squat for 99.5% of the .mobi names that were registered based on speculation.

In my opinion, at best, some mobile-savvy marketers will buy .mobi names for THEIR brand, and some lucky .mobi speculators will make money (not just flipping to other speculators as it seems most of the successful investors are doing). At worst, .mobi is just another choice of extension that is owned by speculators and barely used by anyone.

Bottom line is that you can’t even have a rational conversation with most .mobi investors any more. It’s madness, and its making me sick!

WeddingChannel.com – Smart Interactive Marketers

WeddingChannel.com is a company that uses generic domain names to its advantage. When you take the term “Wedding Channel” at face value, it doesn’t really mean much in terms an interactive company. My first thought would be that “Wedding Channel” is a television channel with shows focusing on the planning and execution of a wedding. Well, WeddingChannel.com is actually one of the largest online wedding resources.

In my opinion, the bread and butter of WeddingChannel.com is its wedding registry. Couples are able to sign up on WeddingChannel.com and link wedding registries from stores such as Bloomingdales, Tiffany’s, Macy’s, Crate & Barrel, Pottery Barn….etc. Guests are able to learn more about the couple, sign a guest book, see event details, and of course, they can purchase wedding presents from various registries all online. Because couples know that most guests will search for them on WeddingChannel.com, they sign up.

One reason for the success of WeddingChannel.com is that they own a ton of awesome generic domain names that all forward to the WeddingChannel.com website. If a person enters one of the company’s names, they will automatically land on WeddingChannel.com, where they are able to find what they need. Some examples of fantastic domain names owned by WeddingChannel.com include:

WeddingRegistry.com
BridalRegistry.com
BridalGowns.com
WeddingPlanner.com
Weding.com (They even own a high value typo!)

This shows that WeddingChannel.com “gets” domain names and uses them to promote their business. Some people don’t get this. They choose not to buy a generic name because they claim it will water down their brand. I think that’s crazy, because as long as they forward the traffic to their main site, the visitor will hardly notice.

Anyone who types in WeddingRegistry.com is looking to find (or create) a wedding registry. Instead of having to pay per click on someone else’s domain name, WeddingChannel.com OWNS ALL OF THIS TRAFFIC! If a person is searching for a wedding registry and they directly navigate to WeddingRegistry.com, Voila – they will find what they need at WeddingChannel.com.

Bullish on Domain Names

5 Reasons the Domain Name Bull Market Will Continue

Andrew Alleman at Domain Name Wire gives 5 reasons + a bonus reason why the domain bull market will continue.   I am in agreement with him on this.   There has never been a better time to own  a generic domain name.

I would add two more reasons to Andrew’s list:

– Domain names are used by people in all corners of the world.   They criss cross socio-economic distinctions, race, religion…etc.   Everybody who wants to create a message that can be seen throughout the world needs a domain name.

– Compared to bricks and mortar retail locations, there is much less overhead with domain names.

House Approves Senate’s Ban on Internet Taxes

Michael and Judi BerkensThanks to Mike for sending me this link this morning: House Approves Senate’s Ban on Internet Taxes

In an unanimous vote (402-0), the US House of Representatives approved an extension of The Internet Tax Freedom Act yesterday, prohibiting local and state governments from collecting taxes on various Internet services, including email and instant messages. This is good news, as a taxation on these types of services would have impacted just about everyone on the Internet, and it would have caused some drastic measures to police.

For the article, please click here.

Photo courtesy of Barbary Neu, borrowed from DNJournal

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