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Mike Berkens Invests in .XXX Domains

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A few weeks ago, I wrote about Frank Schilling’s 7 figure investment in .XXX domain names as part of the ICM Registry’s Founders Program. I learned that another domain investor has also made a large investment in .XXX domain names, via the Founders Program.

Mike Berkens paid “into the six figures” for three .XXX domain names. His company acquired FreePorn.xxx, BlowJobs.xxx, and AnalSex.xxx. The actual purchase price isn’t being disclosed by Berkens or the ICM Registry.

The people behind the ICM Registry and their plans for the extension are big reasons for Berkens’ investment. According to Berkens:

“I think when you invest in a new extension your investing the registry as well, the people behind it and their vision and plan.

ICM has some very smart, determined people who also have the budget and desire to make a turn .XXX into one of the better known extensions throughout the world to compete with .com for adult material.

I also think their forthcoming micropayment system will have a big impact on the space.

Moreover I don’t think another adult oriented domain will be approved by ICANN in the new gTLD process and therefore I think .XXX will own the adult domain space.”

Websites on these domain names (not safe for work or those under the age of 18) went live this past week. Berkens used the web development services of DDC to launch these three websites.

It’s likely that FreePorn.xxx is one of the ten most valuable .XXX domain names. It’s a risky investment, but it could certainly pay off down the road, assuming .XXX takes off. In fact, Frank Schilling is hoping for a ten bagger when it comes to his investment (watch the video on Danno’s Blog  3:00 mark).

“King Gavin” .XXX Advertisement (Video)

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A friend sent me this video that I want to share with you called “King Gavin Makes it Rain.” It’s an advertisement for the .XXX domain extension that I believe was created by the ICM Registry, to encourage people to learn more about .XXX domain names at About.XXX. The video was uploaded to YouTube just a few days ago, but it already has over 700,000 views. Pretty good viral marketing.

Sedo CEO: “Addition of a New gTLD Will Not Affect Prices in the Secondary Domain Market”

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SedoBecause Sedo is a sales platform that serves as a venue for domain names of all extensions, and because of the breadth of its sales, I think company CEO (and co-founder) Tim Schumacher is well positioned to opine on the impact gTLDs may have on the value of domain names.

So does Tim think gTLDs are going to change or devalue the price of existing domain names? According to Schumacher, “the answer here is simple: No. The addition of a new gTLD will not affect prices in the secondary domain market.”  Schumacher continued,  “for example, the introduction of a number of new gTLDs in 2001 (.aero, .biz, .coop, .info, .museum, .name, and .pro) highlight how some extensions flourish, while other do not.   I’d imagine many of people would not have even realized that some of these TLDs were launched.   The inconvenient truth for any new gTLD is that, in 2001, you needed a .com to start a business (or a country-specific equivalent) and that rule still applies ten years later.”

I’ve been hearing quite a bit of buzz about .XXX domain names, and Schumacher commented on that extension as well. Said Schumacher, “while the .xxx extension is receiving much media attention of late, without a mandate to force adult content to the extension, it’s simply another new extension that brands should be aware of.”

One thing that will be interesting is to see whether Sedo has any restrictions on selling .XXX domain names. Sedo has an adult domain name section, and I am curious about whether they will push all .XXX domain names there since they currently look to the left of the dot for cues.

Potential gTLD Cash Cow: .3D

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I think it’s pretty clear that domain investors will be highly coveted by gTLD operators, who would likely expect thousands of sales for investment purposes. If the number of speculators alone were an indication of a potential money pit for a particular gTLD, I would imagine .3D would do very well.

As we witnessed in the Future Trend Domain Auction â„¢ that ended yesterday, there are a lot of people who own (and are looking to sell) 3D related domain names. On Sedo alone, there nearly 25,000 listings that have 3D in the domain name. At BuyDomains, there are over 4,000 3D domain names for sale.

Just from those two venues, assuming a $25 annual fee, that would be close to $750,000 in annual registrations. I know that some of these are duplicate strings, but it’s an interesting figure to consider. With trademark holders, private auctions, and further sales, it’s would likely be a cash cow.

Personally, I don’t think many names would make sense as a dot 3d. I can think of a few, but I wouldn’t advocate buying them unless a person had a specific plan in mind. As domain investors, one should be aware of all the ways one can make money in this space. This is something prospective registry operators will consider.

dot3d.com was created in 2oo2. Interestingly, it lists an expiration date of 2008 at DomainTools, so there’s something funky happening there. The domain name does not resolve.

Why Are They Coming Out Now Against gTLDs?

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Over the past couple of weeks, a number of organizations have issued strongly worded press releases condemning ICANN and the gTLD program. Among those who have criticized ICANN was the CEO of the International Advertising Bureau (IAB) and the CEO of the Association of National Advertisers (ANA).

According to Randall Rothenberg, CEO and President of the IAB, “There appears to have been no economic impact research, no full and open stakeholder discussions, and little concern for the delicate balance of the Internet ecosystem.”

Bob Liodice, President and CEO of the ANA stated that, “Brand confusion, dilution and other abuses also pose risks of cyber predator harms, consumer privacy violations, identity theft and cyber security breaches. The decision to go forward with the program also violates sound public policy and contravenes ICANN’s Code of Conduct and its undertakings with the United States Department of Commerce.”

While Rothenberg and Liodice are of course entitled to their opinions, I am surprised they were not more vocal about their beliefs during the gTLD approval and discussion process that went on for a number of years. Many companies and organizations provided commentary, and there were plenty who opposed the gTLD program.

I am sure one opinion would be that it’s better to oppose this late than never, but it’s strange to see. What were some organizations waiting for to comment? I can’t believe they didn’t know about the program or know how to participate. That just wouldn’t make sense that such large organizations didn’t realize this was taking place.

“India’s Sex Forum” Launched on Masala.XXX

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In the coming days, I expect to see quite a few notices like this one I received today (I won’t be posting any/many). A new website billed as “India’s sex forum” was launched on the domain name, Masala.XXX. According to a few sources, “masala” means spice in Indian, so I suppose this is an appropriate place for the adult forum.

Interestingly, Masala.com is popular website about Bollywood, and the site is essentially news about India’s movie industry and celebrities. The site has an Alexa ranking in the 5,000s in India and in the 30,000s overall.

As more of these sites go online, it will be interesting to see how owners of the .com domain names react to their .XXX counterparts.

Press release follows:

(Delhi, India) MASALA.XXX is the first website designed for India on the adult domain extension .XXX. MASALA.XXX, a free infotainment forum that offers adult visitors a safe environment to openly discuss sex, went live today.

“At MASALA.XXX, we believe that sex is a beautiful thing, not a dirty secret,” said the website spokesperson. “MASALA.XXX will not only entertain adult visitors, but also provide them with helpful information about sex.”

Upon launch, the site features discussions on multiple topics including: sex advice, sex scandals, safe sex, women’s issues, and homosexuality. New topics and discussions will be introduced by site members and moderators.

The privacy of site members and participants is of serious concern to MASALA.XXX, therefore names and email addresses are kept in the strictest confidence. To offer visitors more security, MASALA.XXX features daily virus scans provided through an agreement between ICM Registry, the operator of .XXX, and McAfee.

The website was allocated as part of the ICM Registry Founders Program, an innovative strategy by the new registry to get quality sites immediately developed on .XXX.

“We are thrilled to be the first .XXX website live for India,” said the spokesperson. “MASALA.XXX is proud to be the first site to showcase .XXX as a diverse top level domain that can be used for adult infotainment in addition to pornography.”

MASALA.XXX’s sister site, DESI.XXX will be launching next week.

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