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GoDaddy

GoDaddy is a privately owned, Internet-based company that provides a variety of services including domain name registration, web hosting and e-business software sales. The company, which is headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona, was founded by Bob Parsons. Parsons previously owned a financial services software company, which he sold in the mid-1990s upon retirement. He came out of retirement in 1997 to form Jomax Technologies, the predecessor to GoDaddy.

Since it’s inception, GoDaddy has risen to become the largest domain registrar in the world, with tens of million of domains registered to its clients. The company ranks as the world’s largest ICANN-accredited registrar; it’s approximately four times larger than its nearest competition. Recent corporate acquisitions include Outright, Locu, Afternic, and Media Temple.

GoDaddy has redefined Internet hosting services, and it has been the recipient of numerous industry awards and accolades. Among these awards are the 2001 Arizona BBB award for Business Ethics and the 2011 SC Magazine award for Best Security Team. In 2011, it ranked number four in the Phoenix Business Magazine list of “Best Places to Work in the Valley” and it made the 2012 Forbes list of “Best 100 Companies to Work For.”

Known for its sometimes controversial commercials and interesting spokespersons, GoDaddy also sponsors a number of charitable causes in support of domestic violence and child abuse awareness, and sports events, including NASCAR and the Super Bowl. In 2013, the company shifted its advertising strategy to focus more on small to medium sized business owners (SMB). Reflecting this change, its commercials and advertising materials shifted from “sexy” to smart.

Investing in .CO Domain Names: My Current Thoughts and Outlook

.CO Domain NamesI am writing much more about .CO domain names than I ever did about .MOBI or .EU or any other new domain extension. I want to make a few things very clear about my feelings on .CO, and you can take it for what its worth knowing the .CO Registry is an advertiser and that I own less than 10 .CO domain names.

With Google’s consideration that .CO is an international domain extension rather than another ccTLD (despite the fact that it is actually Colombia’s ccTLD), I believe .CO domain names have the ability to perform well as websites in any country. I believe that this will mean businesses will be able to successfully build on .CO domain names.

I can only assume that companies like Go Daddy and the .CO Registry will continue to market .CO domain names, targeting consumers and small businesses alike. To my knowledge, this type of mass awareness campaign has not been done before for other extensions, and I think consumer awareness is key to .CO domain values.

I believe that because Google announced it will index these domain names like other extensions combined with the awareness campaign undertaken by the world’s largest domain registrar, .CO will become a widely used domain  extension… in the future. In addition, with gTLDs expected to be released in the future, consumers will slowly adjust to extensions other than .com. It may not be quick, but I do think it will happen.

Personally, I do not believe .CO domain investments are a wise short term play. If you buy a name to flip it this week, month, or year, you could be out of luck.

My domain investment business model primarily revolves around quickly flipping domain names. It’s a cash flow business for me. As a result, I am not investing a whole lot in .CO domain names right now.  Simply put, I don’t have $xxx,xxx in liquid capital that I would use to invest in .CO domain names (to put on the sideline) for a long term investment of potentially several years. There may end up being some great buys in the big Sedo ,CO auction, but we probably won’t know for some time.

If you do make .CO domain name investments, you should do your due diligence. I don’t see a big aftermarket for them amongst domain investors right now, although that could conceivably change after the Super Bowl. Without that, there is limited liquidity. For instance, if I pay $25,000 for a city .com name, I am generally fairly positive I could sell it at wholesale for $20,000+, and that can’t be said about .CO at the moment.

I think it’s actually a good thing that we aren’t seeing huge sales that would encourage others to spend more than they should. It doesn’t appear that there is a bubble forming, which is a very good thing, because bubbles in the domain space aren’t good for the majority of us. When they burst, values plunge as the liquidity is not there to support the valuation.

Some of the comments I hear is that Go Daddy and the .CO Registry are simply hyping this extension and it’s going to end up costing domain investors a lot of money. The irony of this is that every business needs to do marketing for consumer awareness, and it’s the consumer awareness that will help make .CO domain names valuable. Without it, consumers and businesses wouldn’t buy the names, and without that, domain investors wouldn’t make much money unless they developed them.

The bottom line from my perspective is that .CO domain names may turn out to be a fantastic investment in the future. For now, I think it’s great to see the Registry and its registrar partners focusing on a gigantic awareness campaign. I am happy with my current investments, and if I see good names at good prices, I will invest for the longterm.

Who I Don’t Think the Go Daddy .CO Girl Is

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GoDaddy's .CO GirlEarlier today, Kevin Murphy posted the teaser photo released by Go Daddy with the back side of the new Go Daddy .CO girl who will be revealed in the Super Bowl commercial.

A couple weeks back, Mike Berkens speculated that it could be the very sexy Colombia-native Sofia Vergara, who stars in one of my wife’s favorite shows, Modern Family. This would seem like a good tie in since .CO is the Colombia ccTLD.

I have spent a lot of time reviewing this picture and inspecting similar pictures of Vergara. Anatomically, it looks like it could be her or perhaps even Shakira.

I am going to speculate that it won’t be Vergara or even Shakira, another famous Colombia-bred beauty. In my opinion, Go Daddy and the .CO Registry will not want to emphasize the Colombia connection to .CO and if anything, they may wish to de-emphasize it when selling it to the US public.

Colombia is a beautiful country with very welcoming people. But I don’t think the general US population will necessarily want to buy “Colombia domain names.” Much like the .TV extension likes to emphasize that it’s about “television” rather than Tuvulu, I think Go Daddy will probably de-emphasize the fact that it’s a country code TLD and prefer to emphasize that it’s an alternative to .com.

With a Colombian spokesmodel as the .CO girl, it will only play up its Colombia connection. It’s not a bad thing mind you, but you don’t really see .ME showing off it’s Montenegro roots. You can already see how Sedo is marketing its big .CO auction.

GoDaddy: “New .COMs and .COs $11.99”

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Godaddy

I assume this is a pre-Super Bowl test, since the .CO offer ends on January 26, 2011, but Go Daddy has an interesting special offer splashed across its homepage right now: “New .COMs and .COs $11.99

Instead of its frothy $29.99 price per domain name, Go Daddy is selling .CO domain names for $11.99/year for the first year only. If you opt to register a new domain name for longer than the first year, the regular price kicks back in after year one.

Perhaps more interesting than the price is the grouping of .COM and .CO together. Some people have shown concern that there could be confusion if people “accidentally” purchase a .CO instead of .COM, which is what was discussed when Go Daddy made .CO a default in a previous test.

Now with the price being the same and .COM the default, Go Daddy will be able to see how amenable customers are to choosing .CO as an alternative to .COM if the .COM of their choice is unavailable.

This price change will also allow GoDaddy to see how price sensitive its customers are when it comes to .CO domain names.

With the company spending millions of dollars on a .CO Super Bowl commercial, it’s a very smart idea to do user testing prior to the game to ensure a smooth experience and help eliminate confusion and an influx of customer service calls.

Thanks to  Giuseppe Biundo for the tip.

Report Suspicious Go Daddy Phishing Emails

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GodaddyLike every other domain registrar, Go Daddy is required to send domain name owners an annual email for each domain registration per ICANN regulations. These emails ensure that the registrant’s Whois information is accurate. GoDaddy also sends customers emails for renewals and account updates.

Some nefarious individuals take advantage of this, and they spoof Go Daddy’s emails, in the hopes that a domain registrant will click one of the fraudulent links and type in their GoDaddy account and password, giving account access away to the thief. This is one way domain names are stolen from Go Daddy accounts and from other domain name registrars.

I’ve received phishing emails like this in the past, and I generally delete them without clicking on the link to avoid giving any information to these thieves and to avoid landing on a website laden with malware. Although hitting the delete button (and/or reporting the email as phishing with your email provider)  is probably the safest way to dispose of an email like this, recipients can do something that will be more helpful to GoDaddy and other customers.

If you receive what you suspect is a fraudulent email from Go Daddy, you should file an abuse report with the company. They will ask for a variety of information from the email you received. This will help the company track down the thieves and become aware of the attempt. This can also help Go Daddy get the website shut down to prevent others from falling prey to this scam.

Domain owners should know that this doesn’t only happen at Go Daddy, as other registrar accounts are also targets. If you receive a phishing or malware email that purports to be from GoDaddy, you should report it to the company.

Pre-Register for Sedo’s Premium .CO Auction

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I think Go Daddy’s Super Bowl commercial is going to be big for .CO domain names. It’s still speculation at this point, but I imagine it will inform a massive amount of American consumers about what .CO is, and it could help increase the value of .CO domain names.

In addition, the .CO Registry has begun a major campaign for .CO on a wide variety of websites. In addition to a continuing Adwords campaign, consumers will see .CO banners on many websites, including this one. All of this should be good for domain investors who own .CO domain investments.

I just learned that  Sedo will be having its first official auction for .CO premium generic/descriptive domains coming up February 10th – 17th, following the much Go Daddy .CO Super Bowl commercial. There are some of the best available .CO domain names for sale in this auction. All  prospective bidders much pre-register for the auction online at Sedo in order to be eligible to bid.

Some of the .CO domain names that will be up for auction include:

  • LasVegas.CO
  • Antiques.CO
  • Luggage.CO
  • Finance.CO
  • Pizza.CO
  • Shoes.CO
  • Pawn.CO
  • Plants.CO
  • Recipes.CO
  • Gas.CO
  • Oil.CO
  • Shop.CO
  • Art.CO
  • Health.CO
  • Money.CO
  • …. Many other top names

You can see the full list of domain names for sale by visiting the Sedo live auction website. In my opinion, this is a huge auction and the results will be  indicative  of the state of the .CO aftermarket.

Don’t forget – you need to preregister to bid.

Verizon iPhone Domain Name Suffers Same Fate as WikiLeaks.com at Go Daddy

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Page Not Available

As news spreads of a presumed iPhone announcement from Verizon Wireless tomorrow, commentators have been discussing some related domain names that are now owned by Verizon. For instance, iPhoneForVerizon.com now appears to be owned by Verizon. The company  fiercely  defends it’s trademarks, so this is no surprise to me.

Perhaps the best iPhone / Verizon domain name would be VerizoniPhone.com, which does not appear to be owned by either Apple or Verizon Wireless. Instead, it appears to be registered to a California resident and registered with Go Daddy.

According to a historical snapshot available on DomainTools, the domain name appears to have previously had a standard Godaddy landing page, which generally contains pay per click links.

However, the landing page seems to have suffered the same fate as that of the WikiLeaks.com domain name. Instead of a PPC-filed lander, there is a graphic that says, “Sorry! This site is not currently available.” I don’t know if there is a way to tell if Go Daddy intentionally isn’t monetizing it or if the customer changed the landing page, but it seems to be a smart move to avoid litigation for monetizing this domain name.

A big question I have though is if Go Daddy is responsible for removing the PPC landing page on this domain name, does it put the company at risk with other potential trademark names that are being monetized by them on their coming soon pages?

Could other trademark holders argue that if Go Daddy is willing and able to change the landing page for a name like VerizoniPhone.com, they should be doing it for all trademark names?  I have no legal expertise but think it’s interesting.

Oh… and I am very eager to hear the news… You can be sure my Blackberry will become a relic once the iPhone is available on the Verizon network.

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