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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.

Why You Should Attend a Domain Conference

Although networking with other domain investors is high up on the list of reasons to attend a domain conference, in my opinion, there is one primary reason. Attending a domain conference gives you the opportunity to meet your sales representatives and managers for the companies with whom you do your domain business.

Whether your business primarily relies on domain investing, parking, or other monetization, you can meet the people who can help you when you are in need.

For my domain registrations, I primarily register my names with Moniker. No matter who is running the conference or where it is, I almost always see my account manager Bari Meyerson at the shows. Monte Cahn is frequently there as are other Moniker representatives, but it’s always good to connect with Bari. I also register some names with Godaddy, and my representative, Brad Larson is frequently in attendance.

The same thing goes for domain parking, although you already know by now that I don’t rely on parking for much revenue (under $1,000 per year). However, just about all of the companies are there and have company representatives available to answer questions and address complaints.

I know that if I ever have a problem, I am comfortable calling or emailing Bari and Brad day or night, and I know my issue will be addressed almost immediately. When you establish a personal relationship with the services companies with whom you do business, you are more easily able to reach your sales managers in times of need.

In addition, if your business relies on advertising from companies who exhibit and attend domain tradeshows, this is an opportunity to tell them about your website. If you own DomainInvesting.com and plan to develop a website on it, your best bet is to connect with the right people at the domain show to let them know about your plans and advertising opportunities.

Likewise, attending an industry tradeshow can also be smart when you are developing other domain names in different verticals. Most tradeshows offer free exhibit hall passes, allowing you to meet with vendors who may want to advertise on your website. This is a topic for another post.

Upcoming domain conferences where most domain companies will be in attendance include:

O.Biz: Overstock Building .Biz Awareness

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This morning, Overstock.com announced that it will be going live with the website O.biz on October 31,2009. The new site will sell mostly restaurant, office, and hotel products, with a focus on small businesses and consumers looking to buy in bulk at greater discounts than are found on the Overstock.com website.

Some people might ask why Overstock would want a .biz domain name for this project. You can’t argue with the fact that it’s memorable and short, two things that an established brand cares about. Likewise, the .Biz registry will have a showcase website, one step in building consumer awareness.

In my opinion, consumer awareness is what drives domain registrations after the initial speculative period ends and domain speculators choose whether or not to renew their domain names. The more that consumers are aware of a specific domain extension (and familiar with brands that use them as standalone sites rather than redirects to a main .com site), the more value the domain names have. This drives both consumer and business adoption of these domain names.

In the press release this morning, Overstock.com Chairman and CEO Patrick Byrne commented, “The .BIZ extension is appealing to growing, innovative businesses. Our goal is to have O.BIZ help small to medium-size businesses save money by leveraging the purchasing power of Overstock.com.”

If this new site is a hit for Overstock, it will certainly be a boon to .Biz domain names, which in my opinion aren’t very coveted right now, despite being listed as a “Top Seller” on registrar websites like Godaddy, which is an effort to upsell or downsell additional extensions. With new gTLDs presumably coming, the .Biz registry will end up fighting for this valuable real estate with up and coming domain extensions, and it needs to prove that that people will buy them.

Godaddy Top Sellers

Possible Namepros Phishing Attempt

NameprosThis morning I received an email that appears to be a Namepros domain forum phishing attempt, which I posted below. There are a couple of things domain investors and developers can learn from this:

1) Have different user names and passwords for forums, blogs, registrar logins…etc.

2) Don’t click links in an email as they can be cloaked.

3) If you suspect that you have clicked to a phishing website, tell the webmaster and change your password on the real site

4) Protectively register similar domain names to prevent confusion – especially if your website allows people to sign up.

It appears this email refers to a site at wwwnamepros.com rather than www.namepros.com, and the phishing domain name is registered at Godaddy. The spoofed website has already been taken down. However, you should be aware of this now and for the future. It should also be noted that the Whois information on the domain name is not private.

Here’s the email:

DO NOT REPLY TO THIS EMAIL!
***************************

Dear UserName,

You have received a new private message at NamePros.com from steelejones, entitled “Trader Rating Notification”.

To read the original version, respond to, or delete this message, you must log in here:
http://www.namepros.com/private.php

This is the message that was sent:
***************
You have received a new Positive rating or comment from steelejones.

Details about this transaction can be found *on your iTrader page* (http://wwwnamepros.com/itrader.php?u=88275).

Note: This is an automated message.
***************

Again, please do not reply to this email. You must go to the following page to reply to this private message:
http://www.namepros.com/private.php

All the best,
NamePros.com

Using Vurr to Find Keyword Domain Names

I found a tool that I’ve been using to harvest unregistered domain names and I wanted to share this with you. Vurr is a tool that is similar to what Overture was, but it relies on a static set of data. From the Vurr website:

“This is a free alternative to Overture and equivalent tools. Search data is from 48.6 million searches by 657,426 distinct users and comprises 97 million keywords. Data was collected by AOL on a random sample of US users from March 1, 2006 through May 31, 2006. In the interest of privacy, search information is only available in aggregate and numeric queries dropped.”

Because the data isn’t exactly “new” it isn’t the best tool to search for trends or more currently used keywords. For example, the keyword search for “twitter” returned no results. However, I do think it’s good for long tail domain searches, especially with people dropping more names than usual due to the economy.

To find domain names, I enter specific search terms, such as “mortgage,” “refinancing,” “soccer,” “mobile” etc. I then take the results, along with the actual # of searches, and I use an Excel sheet to remove the numbers, leaving me with rows of keyword phrases. I then use the Godaddy bulk domain search tool to find the .com names that are available to register.

Once I get the results, I break up the domain name back into it’s search terms, and I search Google for the “quoted phrase” to see how many results there are, how many advertisers there are, and I get a feeling for the competitiveness of the keyword and value of the product or service.

If I think a particular domain name would have commercial value to an end user and is a term that people are looking to find, I will generally buy it. The key thing is that the phrase, as listed, is a searched term and has meaning. Even if the phrase is in a niche industry or field, if it could have commercial value, I am willing to take a chance.

Turning to Twitter to Recover Domains

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An interesting thing is happening at Twitter, which I have been following via the Domaining.com feed. Apparently two domain names were stolen from the GoDaddy account of Twitter commentator cvander (Maestrosdelweb.com and forosdelweb.com). Since many of this person’s posts are in Spanish, I cannot understand everything that has been going on, but it would seem that the domain owner posted updates about how his names were stolen and how he lost control of his Gmail account.

In response to the news, friends of cvander have been sending messages to Godaddy’s representative on Twitter, GoDaddyGuy. These messages, which can be seen by all, are verifying that these people know cvander and that his names have, in fact, been stolen.   Godaddy would seem to be working on the issue, as the latest message is “To all those concerned about @cvander, please know we’re aware of the issue and working to find a resolution.”

It’s neat to see how Twitter is being used by domain owners in a variety of ways, and kudos to Godaddy for having a customer facing representative working on Twitter.

Use Caution When Updating Whois Information

Mike Berkens wrote an important post today about keeping your Whois information current and updated. ICANN regulations require that Whois information is accurate, and if the information isn’t accurate, there is a chance that your domain name could possibly be taken. There are also many legal reasons to do so, which Mike outlines in his post. It just makes sense to keep your information updated, and if you are worried about spam emails or privacy, just buy the privacy guard.
In this vein, I think it’s also important to note that some UDRP panels have ruled that a change in registration information can be seen as a brand new registration. One recent case (although it didn’t really impact the decision) was on the BME.com case, which the respondent lost. The respondent had changed his Whois information (between his own entities), and they still cited this changing Whois information.
In addition to this issue, Godaddy also seems to still lock domain names for 60 days when the Whois information is updated.   While this can usually be remedied somewhat quickly if you contact them, it is a nuisance.
Yes, maintaining your valid Whois information is most definitely important – especially if a signficant event has impacted it (ended partnership, bankruptcy, company formation, divorce…etc).   However, keep in mind that changing your Whois information could put your domain name at risk depending on who is monitoring your Whois listing.

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