Guest Post

Guest Post: Tourism Organizations & Domain Names

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This is a guest post written by Rob Sequin, who has been a domain investor since 1999 and a domain broker since 2004. He specializes as a domain buyer broker and sales broker in travel related and geodomains. He just started the Travel Domain Newsletter featuring travel domain related news, domains wanted and domains for sale.

A while back Elliot wrote a great article “Visit Geo Domain Names Owned by Tourism Boards & CVBs”  that generated more than 100 comments.

I have been an active buyer, seller and broker of geodomains and travel related domains so when I saw the Exhibitor List from the recent New York Travel Show, I was curious to see the domain names that tourism organizations were using to promote their regions.

I was generally impressed to learn that most of these organizations appreciate the value of a good domain name. Some use pure geo domains, others use .travel and some use a prefix such as visit or go so most are using decent to high quality domain names.

Here is a list of tourism related organizations that recently exhibited at the New York Travel Show:

  • Africa Travel Association – AfricaTravelAssociation.org
  • Alaska – TravelAlaska.com
  • Anguilla Tourist Board – IVisitAnguilla.com
  • Antigua Hotels & Tourist Association – AntiquaHotels.org
  • Argentina National Institute of Tourism Promotion –  Argentina.travel
  • Aruba Tourism Authority –  Aruba.com
  • Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority –  AlanticCityNJ.com
  • Barbados Tourism Authority –  VisitBarbados.org
  • Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel –  FortMyers-Sanibel.com
  • Belize Hotel Association –  BelizeHotels.org
  • Belize Tourism Board –  TravelBelize.org
  • Botswana Tourism –  BotswanaTourism.us
  • British Virgin Islands Tourist Board –  BVITourism.com
  • Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association Education Foundation – CaribbeanHotelAssociation.com
  • Caribbean Tourism Organization – CaribbeanTravel.com
  • Cartagena de Indias Tourism Board – CartagenaDeIndias.travel
  • Cayman Islands Department of Tourism – CaymanIslands.ky
  • Central Florida Visitors & Convention Bureau – VisitCentralFlorida.org
  • China National Tourist Office – CNTO.org
  • Costa Rica Tourist Board (ICT) – VisitCostaRica.com
  • Croatian National Tourist Board – Croatia.hr
  • Cruise Line International Association – Cruising.org
  • Cruise Planners/American Express – CruisePlanners.com
  • Curacao Tourism Corporation – Curacao.com
  • CYPRUS TOURISM ORGANIZATION – VisitCyprus.com
  • Czech Tourism – CzechTourism.com
  • Discover Dominica – Dominica.dm
  • Dominican Republic Tourism Board – GoDominicanRepublic.com
  • Dutchess County Tourism – Hudson Valley Region – DuchessTourism.com
  • Ecuador Ministry of Tourism – Ecuador.travel
  • Egyptian Tourist Authority – Egypt.travel
  • Embratur-Brazilian Tourist Board – BrazilTour.com
  • Emerald Coast Convention & Visitors Bureau – EmeraldCoastFL.com
  • Florida Tourism Industry Marketing Corporation – VisitFlorida.com
  • FLORIDA TREASURE COAST – TreasureCoast.com
  • Florida’s Space Coast Office of Tourism – VisitSpaceCoast.com
  • Hungarian National Tourist Office – GoToHungary.com
  • India Tourism – IncredibleIndia.org
  • Israel Ministry of – Tourism GoIsrael.com
  • Jamaica Tourist Board – VisitJamaica.com
  • Japan National Tourism Organization – JapanTravelInfo.com
  • Jordan Tourism Board North America – VisitJordan.com
  • KOREA TOURISM ORGANIZATION – VisitKorea.or.kr
  • Lake George Regional Chamber of Commerce & CVB – LakeGeorgeChamber.com
  • Louisiana North – ExploreLouisianaNorth.org
  • Louisiana Tourism Coastal Coalition – VisitLouisianaCoast.com
  • Louisiana’s Wetlands Cultural Trail – VisitLaFourche.com
  • Maine Office of Tourism – VisitMaine.com
  • Martinique Promotion Bureau – Martinique.org
  • Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism – MassVacation.com
  • Maui Visitors and Convention Bureau – GoHawaii.com
  • Mexico Tourism Board – VisitMexico.com
  • Ministry of sport and tourism of Kamchatskiy krai – VisitKamchatka.com
  • Ministry of Tourism and Sports of Uruguay – UruguayNatural.com
  • Ministry of Tourism of Cambodia – TourismCambodia.org
  • Mongolian Travel – MongolianTravel.com
  • Moroccan National Tourist Office – VisitMorocco.com
  • Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce – MtWashingtonValley.org
  • Namibia Tourism Board (NTB) – NambiaTourism.com.na
  • Nassau Paradise Island Promotion Board – NassauParadiseIsland.com
  • New Brunswick Tourism – ACTP-PTCA.ca
  • New Jersey Travel & Tourism – VisitNJ.org
  • New Smyrna Beach Visitor Center – NSBFLA.com
  • NH Division of Travel & Tourism – VisitNH.gov
  • NICARAGUAN TOURISM BOARD – VisitNicaragua.com
  • Pacific Asia Travel Association – PATA NY Chapter – PATA.org
  • Palm Springs Bureau of Tourism – VisitPalmSprings.com
  • Panama City Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau – VisitPanamaCityBeach.com
  • Panama Tourism Authority – VisitPanama.com
  • Papua New Guinea Tourism Promotion Authority – PapuaNewGuinea.travel
  • PENNSYLVANIA’S LAUREL HIGHLANDS – LaurelHighlands.org
  • Pensacola Bay Area Chamber of Commerce – VisitPensacola.com
  • Phillipine Tourism – ExperiencePhillipines.org
  • Puerto Rico Tourism Company – SeePuertoRico.com
  • Quito Tourism – Quito.com.ec
  • Rio Convention & Visitors Bureau – RCVB.com.br
  • Romanian National Tourist Office – RomaniaTourism.com
  • Saint Lucia Tourist Board – StLuciaNow.com
  • Ski Areas of New York, Inc. – iSkiNY.com
  • South African Tourism –  SouthAfrica.com
  • Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau – SriLanka.travel
  • St. Kitts & Nevis Tourism Authority – StKittsTourism.kn
  • St. Lucie County Tourism – VisitStLucieFLA.com
  • St. Maarten Tourist Office – VacationStMaarten.com
  • St. Petersburg/Clearwater Area Convention & Visitors Bureau – VisitStPeteClearwater.com
  • Stowe & Okemo, Vermont & Green Mountain Railroad – GoStowe.com
  • Sullivan County Visitors Association – SCVA.net
  • Tahiti Tourisme North America – Tahiti-Tourisme.com
  • Taiwan Tourism Bureau Office in New York – TBROC.gov.tw
  • Tanzania Tourist Board – TanzaniaTouristBoard.com
  • The Tourism Authority of Thailand – TourismThailand.org
  • Tobago Division of Tourism and Transportation – VisitTobago.gov.tt
  • Tourism Council of Bhutan – Tourism.gov.bt
  • Tourism Fiji – FijiMe.tv
  • Tourism Malaysia – Tourism.gov.my
  • Tourism Prince Edward Island – TourismPEI.com
  • Trinidad and Tobago Tourism Development Company – GoTrinidadAndTobago.com
  • Turks and Caicos Tourist Board – TurksAndCaicosTourism.com
  • Ulster County Tourism – UlsterCountyAlive.com
  • United States Virgin Islands Department of Tourism – VisitUSVI.com
  • Utah Marketing Organization – VisitUtah.com
  • Virginia Tourism – VisitShenandoah.org
  • Visit Orlando – VisitOrlando.com
  • Visit Tallahassee – VisitTallahassee.com
  • Whiteface/Lake Placid – WhiteFace.com
  • ZAMBIA TOURISM BOARD – ZambiaTourism.com

I like most of these domains. There is good use of .travel, Visit.. and country codes. All of these are very appropriate.

I have to give credit to these organizations that are using the pure geo brand; the Aruba Tourism Authority using Aruba.com, the Curacao Tourism Corporation using Curacao.com and the South African Tourism Board using SouthAfrica.com.

There are some acronym domains that I suppose are appropriate but they certainly won’t get much search engine love and may not be easy to remember. I have to point out the really bad domains in the list… New Brunswick Tourism using ACTP-PTCA.ca, India Tourism using IncredibleIndia.org, the Ministry of Tourism and Sports of Uruguay using UruguayNatural.com and Tahiti Tourisme North America using Tahiti-Tourisme.com. Sorry but in the US we spell it tourism.

Guest Post: The Domain Market Is Booming, And It’s No Wonder Why

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This is a guest post from Jason Miner, who oversees  Afternic’s  Sales, Business Development & Customer Service departments while also guiding the Product and Development teams. With over 6 years at Afternic and more than 15 years of senior management experience, Jason brings adept leadership skills to the helm of Afternic.

The domain market for primary registrations and premium domains shows no sign of slowing down. From the latest Verisign Domain Name Industry Brief :   “Registrations have grown by more than 20.4 million, or 10 percent, since the fourth quarter of 2010” and “the .com and .net TLDs experienced aggregate growth, reaching a combined total of 13.8 million domain names in the fourth quarter of 2011.”

It’s also been almost two decades since the first e-commerce purchase, yet recent studies estimate that around 40% of small to mid-sized businesses still don’t have a website! From McKinsey’s Internet Matters report:   “All business leaders, not just e-CEOs, should put the Internet at the top of their strategic agenda.” These indicators show that there is a great deal of unmet need for premium domain names for ecommerce sites that are yet to be built.

Since a solid domain is the foundation of any business’s website, the domain industry – and especially the aftermarket – is poised for a huge amount of growth. Improvements in the premium domain transaction process and increased trust in the aftermarket have made it easier for customers to find and purchase premium domains.

Improved Processes Leads to Improved Liquidity

Afternic has made a substantial commitment to and investment in technology to improve the premium domain sales process. Whereas premium domains were previously subjected to a lengthy escrow process, those for sale through Afternic Premium Promotion are now available to the buyer almost immediately. This fluid transaction process is critically important to the growth of the domain aftermarket; customers expect that what they are buying online will be available right away.

Improved Trust by Partnering with Industry Heavyweights

This improved infrastructure has brought many of the world’s leading registrars on board with listing premium domains for sale alongside primary registrations. This both expands the audience for premium domains and lends added legitimacy to the domain aftermarket – which is newer and less known than older registrars.

New Domain Extensions Increase Awareness

Domains have been in the news a lot lately, especially with ICANN’s announcement of new TLDs and the varied responses to this announcement. Any news that keeps domains and their value “top of mind,” is good for the industry.

We expect that consumers will value past performance (.com domain extensions being the most trusted historically, for example) as a predictor of future success, ensuring that .com will still remain the gold standard.

Learn more about selling your domains on Afternic today.

Guest Post: How Domain Investors Can Benefit From Free Screen Sharing

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I want to share a guest post with you, written by Lawrence Gentilello, an Internet entrepreneur who founded the startup, Screenleap. I believe Screenleap may be beneficial to domain investors, and I asked Lawrence to write a guest post to share how it can be helpful. You can read more about ScreenLeap  in an article posted on TechCrunch last month.

Since registering my first domain name in 1999, I’ve had an appreciation for creating value through the use of premium domain names. I’ve enjoyed watching the industry evolve, and have bought and sold several domain names. So when I co-founded a new screen sharing service called Screenleap, one of the first things I started using it for was to help me manage what I was doing with my names more efficiently. I’ve found Screenleap to be very useful in this regard, so I wanted to share with Elliot’s readers how it can make them more effective domainers as well.

Screenleap is free screen sharing product that simplifies the process of sharing what’s happening on your computer screen with others. Our product allows you to view someone’s screen from any device with a browser, including smartphones and tablets, without having to install anything. The person sharing the screen does need to have Java though, which is already the case on most computers. Most of our users are able to share their screen in less than 20 seconds.

Below are the top four ways I’ve found it helpful in the context of domain investing:

Guest Post with Ned O’Meara: Aussie Domain Market News

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Firstly, thank you to Elliot for inviting me to do a guest article. I was delighted to be asked.

I’m pleased to say that little by little the Aussie market is opening up at last. For those of you that thought there were just too many rules and regulations, it may well be time to have another look. Perhaps even consider putting a few eggs in other baskets?

The biggest and best change has just been officially announced in the last 24 hours by our regulator auDA. The 6 month prohibition on selling new domain names (or domains bought on the drop auctions) is being abolished come the 10th November. All I and other domainers can say is “hallelujah”! Official announcement here: http://www.auda.org.au/news-archive/auda-06102011/

Yes, we do have a few other rules and a bit of red tape, but compared to a few years back it is paradise. For those that make the effort now to become registered to buy Aussie domains, then I believe this will pay off big time in the future. Imho!

Our ccTLD is .com.au / .net.au etc. Currently there are just over 2,230,000 domains registered. So we’re still a baby compared to other markets. And therein lies the opportunity imo.

The beauty of our fledgling market (compared to .com) is that there are some absolute bargains to be picked up on both the drops and the secondary market. But the other exciting factor – particularly for domainers – are that there are some excellent “enduser” sales starting to happen as well.

The most recent blockbuster sale was investmentproperty.com.au. It cracked $125,001 on the drop auctions at Netfleet.com.au (plus had a similar bid at Drop.com.au)! This was way above what even seasoned domainers thought it would be worth! Have a read about it here in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Two other worthy sales this year were Poker.com.au and Deals.com.au – both went for $100,000. Top Aussie sales this year are listed here on DN Trade. I’m a partner in this forum, and would invite anyone keen on learning a bit more about Aussie domains to please join up. Adam Dicker of DNForum.com was very kind to give us an introduction on DNF as well.

If I can help anyone with information on how to easily set up an Aussie account, or if you have any further questions on the Aussie market, please email me.

Best wishes, Ned

Ned O’Meara is a full-time domainer who lives in Queensland, Australia. Aussie domains are his passion – and he also is the administrator at DN Trade – a domain forum for Aussie domain owners. He was also a panel member on the recent auDA Secondary Market Working Group (that recommended the abolishment of the 6 month rule). He can be contacted at ned at dntrade dot com.au (don’t forget the.au!)

Guest Post: The role of ‘Trust’ in the Re-launching of the Importers.com B2B Marketplace

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This is a guest post from John Lyotier, Co-Founder of Left of the Dot.

First off, thank you Elliot for giving Left of the Dot the opportunity to tell you a bit more about our re-branding and our re-launching of Importers.com.

Whenever we take on a brand, we look at several factors before we begin development: what is the natural business model implied by the name, what is happening within the name’s specific vertical, and who are the big players within the domain’s market category.

With Importers.com, we discovered a market that was filled with fraud and uncertainty. Trading partners did not trust trading partners. Scandals were plaguing the incumbent market leaders (See: The EconomistAlibaba and the 2,236 Thieves“). And the brand perception among potential consumers was that they “all look the same and seem sketchy”.

For us, this spelled opportunity, and it was clear that if we were going to differentiate Importers.com in this market (and resurrect what should have been a dominant global brand before being abandoned by its previous owners), we needed to emphasize the concept of ‘Trust’ first and foremost.

Many Domainers already know that a good generic carries with it a certain amount of implied trust. If you have a category-owning concept – be it Importers.com, DogWalker.com, or Villa.com – your name provides you with multiple benefits, each of which stems from this implied trust:

  1. You get better click thru rates on your paid search advertising. This increases your quality score and lowers your cost of new customer acquisition. And if it costs me less to get a customer on Importers.com than it does for an upstart brand that nobody has ever heard of… I win.
  2. You get ranked higher in search engines. Initially, this was entirely dependent on keyword match, but with the Panda release, how customers or peers perceive your site has become much more of a factor (think of the +1 as a trust endorsement).
  3. Customers (and strategic partners) are more willing to listen to you and give you the benefit of the doubt.

With this knowledge in our back pocket, we decided to play to our strength. The name “Importers.com” conveys a trusted brand in a market that is screaming for somebody to trust.

As we started to peel back the layers of Importers.com, more opportunities opened up. We were able to call on partners that may not have taken our call had we been a “just-born” brand. One of these partners is a group that allows us to do fraud and identity verification as part of a new Importers.com “Trust Certification” program, which now implemented, fosters even more trust between our members.

We are also able to convey this intrinsic trust down through the participating members of the Importers.com B2B community through our unique Marketing Name service.

For those who don’t know, key to Left of the Dot’s site development strategy (which we feel is a good alternative to domain parking for the very best domain names on the planet) is to allow small businesses to lease sub-domains to the “left of the dot”. For example, a hardwood importer may choose to lease from us Hardwood.Importers.com. When deployed on Importers.com, businesses and trade associations can lease names ranging from $25 to $200 per month. With this model, a business can either have the sub-domain pointed at their existing directory listing [referred to as a Trade Page on Importers.com], redirected to an external website, or with some properties … to a fully-hosted website hosted by Left of the Dot.

For the member who has leased Hardwood.Importers.com, he has a brand that he can use in his own marketing campaigns, and in so doing… he leverages the intrinsic trust of the Importers.com domain name.

However, deploying our sub-domain platform is but one part of taking on the resurrection of a brand like this. As you know, building a website is hard… but we found that re-building a website is even harder. We had to ensure that we had a website that stood out from the incumbents (visually anyhow), and when a first-time visitor arrives at the site, their experience is aligned with our brand promise of Trust.

And with Importers.com, we believe that we have been able to achieve this. It all started with a domain name in which our client saw un unrealized value and has grown from there.   And the result? It is too early to tell, but we believe the brand visually stands out and is recognized as a market leader. The website has 400,000 members, is growing at a rate of about 1,000 new members per week, and has captured the attention of Alibaba and TradeKey (both of which have multi-billion dollar valuations). We have hired a Brand Manager who now lives and breathes the brand and are ramping up an international sales force to help drive revenue for ourselves and our client.

In the end, while it will be our members and the market as a whole that will judge how well we did in re-launching this specific domain, we would be interested in the thoughts of the readers. So what do you think? Did we do a good job in conveying trust?

To give you a snapshot of the competitors, here is a screenshot of the re-launched Importers.com and the first impression that we give versus a single graphic showing the similarity between the leading companies in the B2B trade marketplace.

Importers

Guest Post: How .com Changed Three Words For The Better

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The following is a guest post written by Bobby Fitzgerald discussing how RestaurantsAgainstCancer.com was developed to raise money for the children of  Camp Sunrise.

Recently at a American Cancer Society meeting I was told about CEO’s Against Cancer, a smoking cessation program the ACS operates. I jotted down restaurants against cancer and bought the domain through Godaddy’s app before the meeting was over. For the next few weeks I worked my contacts in the industry and asked them to pull together to support a summer camp for children fighting cancer. The total cost of food and supplies for the two-week over-night portion of the camp is $15,000.

Out of 8,000 restaurants in Phoenix we need just 30 at $500 each. Everyone said “great idea” and walked away or looked at me with a blank stare. In three weeks I got one restaurant to commit. I went to my WP guy on Elance and had a site built based on a directory model I am tweaking for a budding restaurant network (BethesdaRestaurants.com). A week later RestaurantsAgainstCancer.com was up.

The first day the site was live we raised $2,000. Eight days later we raised over $8,000. I was shocked and thrilled at what had been accomplished for the children of Camp Sunrise. The Arizona Restaurant Association stated this could be a marquee event for the industry and associates in Chicago and Denver inquired about starting the effort there.

I called a national supply company’s HQ in another state and left a VP a voicemail mentioning the site. Five minutes later the local manger called me and said they were in. I know what happened, the VP went to the site and saw his customers listed and his largest competitor. All this because I added dot com to the end of a phrase I had been touting for weeks with no return.

Putting three words on a website made it something REAL. The power of this has blown me away and I cannot stop with the ideas of what else this formula could do for charities. Every restaurant and vendor who has joined the fight is now walking around saying, “We are part of RestaurantsAgainstCancer.com, go see.” Add in a PPC campaign (using $75 promos) during the two weeks of the camp to promote the restaurants involved and we have delivered a ROI for them as well.

Interestingly, a number of people have asked me if it was .org so that extension is forwarded. Everyone knows the internet is limitless and seeing your name or brand online is a huge form of recognition.

Elliot certainly did a great job of this by listing his contributors to the NYC Ronald McDonald House, which may soon be a retirement home if the health-food-activists get their way. (LOL) Nothing has the potential for worldwide exposure or is cheaper than bits, so recognizing on a website works well. It is way more than a plaque on the hallway to the John. It could even be a WordPress or Blogger template with a domain simply forwarded. This is how we our restaurants’ blog works.

I want the SEO value of WordPress so it’s RestaurantName.Wordpress.com and we get top billing on searches plus back link value we control. A site for a worthy cause can be up in minutes with no cost.

So if it is selling Girl Scout Cookies or any worthy cause, many who read this blog have the ability to easily get a site up to help the effort. This little exercise shows first hand the potential impact. Many people want to give back but truly do not know how. Now you do…

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