Rick Schwartz

Tucows Stripped of WADND Registrar Seal of Approval

Subscribe to Elliot's BlogIn an email sent by Rick Schwartz today, World Association of Domain Name Developers Inc. announced that Tucows has been stropped of the WADND Registrar Seal of Approval that was awarded on October 22, 2007. To receive this seal of approval, a registrar has to meet the following criteria set forth on the WADND website:
1. Registrar must agree to cooperate with all other Registrars when a domain is claimed to be hijacked.
2. Registrar must have 24-hour Hot Line for reporting stolen domains or other registration problems.
3. Registrar must delay transfer, or double-check authenticity of purchaser when transfering a domain to a Registrar who knowingly harbors hi-jacked domains.
4. Registrar must have “Executive Lock” in place that can only be removed by direct communication with Registrant.
5. Registrar must have a minimum of one million (1,000,000) domains registered.
6. Registrar must provide sufficiently direct means to unlock domain locks, so as to not unduly deny a legitimate transfer request from a verified domain name registrant.
7. Registrar must collect emergency contact information from registrants, other registrars and resellers to respond to an urgent restoration of a hi-jacked domain.
8. Registrar must define and make clear the emergency procedures which can be instituted in events where emergency contacts are not available.
9. Registrar must provide clear and readily accessible information to registrants regarding domain locking and domain name protection measures offered by Registrar.
Below is the press release distributed today:

The majority of non-obstaining Board of Advisors from the World Association of Domain Name Developers Inc. has voted to revoke the WADND Registrar Seal of Approval awarded to Tucows.com. Tucows has continually chosen stockholder interests over domainer interests. The latest plan, selling expired domains they kept from their own customers for failing to timely renew.
http://www.thedomains.com/2008/10/29/tucows-now-selling-the-expired-domains-they-kept-from-their-customers/
http://www.thedomains.com/2008/10/31/tucows-responds-to-yummydomainscom/
http://www.whizzbangsblog.com/index.php/20081110486/MyBlog/Conflicts-between-customers-and-registrars.html
And earlier this year:
http://www.thedomains.com/2008/06/21/ethics-of-domain-drop-auctions-tdnam-and-namejet-called-out-yesterday-today-we-call-out-tucows/
http://www.thedomains.com/2008/06/25/tucows-response-to-our-post-not-good-enough-and-heres-why/

Uneducated Comments from Amateurs

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Subscribe to Elliot's BlogThese past couple weeks, I’ve been irritated by people making uneducated comments about end-user sales being too high. On various public domain forums, some people seem to think that end users are paying too much for domain names that define their nice or define a major category in their niche. I think these comments are uneducated and somewhat baffling.
If your family owned a diamond or jewelry business on the 4th floor of a building in New York’s famous diamond district, how much would it be worth to be able to buy out the lease of the shop right on the corner of 47th and 5th, which is passed by tens of thousands of people a day?   This location is far more lucrative to a diamond dealer than it would be to someone else – say a ski shop.   I wouldn’t expect the owner of a ski shop to criticize a diamond dealer for paying millions of dollars to secure the best slot in the diamond district, so why are some domain investors critical of domain sales to end users – the people that know their business?
Some of the threads where comments were being made seem to be more of a personal nature directed at Rick Schwartz and his recent sale of RoomDividers.com.   There are people who are actually alluding to a conspiracy theory or some other dumb bullshit (like Rick is going to stake his rep on a $75k deal).   For fuck’s sake – leave Rick alone.   It’s easy taking potshots at one of the domain industry leaders, but it makes you look like a clown.   By no means do you have to agree with everyone, but there is a way to disagree without being disagreeable.
Think what you want about whoever you want, but when you air your views out in the public, people may be less inclined to do business with you, and it’s your reputation that will take a hit.

2008: Year of Uncertainty in Domain Industry

I know it’s a holiday weekend, but I think everyone needs to take a few minutes to read Ron Jackson’s interview of Rick Schwartz. In the domain space, Rick has been something like a soothsayer, and when he speaks, I listen. While we don’t all own the same quality domain names as Rick, the things he is saying does affect all domain investors.

If or when Google decides to pull the plug and PPC as we know it drastically changes, there is going to be a lot of tumult in the industry. While quickly and efficiently monetizing domain names will be difficult and domain values will be impacted, domain owners need to keep the following things in mind:

  • Businesses who want to be online need a domain name
  • Advertisers will still want to advertise on relevant domain names
  • People will continue typing-in domain names looking for products or services
  • Easy to remember and relevant domain names are the most desired
  • Consumers typically have certain web browsing patterns, and many type in their keyword and .com as a starting point

The point is that while making easy money from domain names won’t be possible, there are still going to be plenty of opportunities in the domain space. Some people will have to sell more than they have in the past in order to maintain the same revenue levels, so some deals may be had.  I recommend buying domain names that would make sense to be developed. Just because a domain name did well parked, doesn’t mean that it would be good to develop.

I still believe the greatest ongoing revenue generating opportunity is selling advertising space directly to advertisers on developed websites. I believe websites are the newspapers of decades ago. Websites get the eyeballs that newspapers once received, and advertisers want to reach them. Motivated consumers are untapped leads that businesses would like to acquire.

I also believe that as companies continue to migrate their business online, more will get it, and more will want (or even need) the domain name that describes their business or industry. Generic and category defining domain names are rare, and they hold considerable value. Selling domain names to end users that get it will be the driving force behind the future growth of domain values.

Changing times call for changing strategies.  Those who adapt and adopt will survive, and those who sit back will not. Who knows when all of this will happen, but I think it’s important to be prepared for the worst. Read Rick’s interview and judge for yourself.

Yahoo and Intel to Bring Widgets to Television

Here are two excerpts from a hot off the press news bulletin in the Atlanta Business Chronicle:

Intel Corp. and Yahoo Inc. on Wednesday announced plans for the Widget Channel, a television application framework optimized for TV and related consumer electronics devices.

and furthermore…

Yahoo-branded TV widgets “will enable consumers to engage in a variety of experiences such as watching videos, tracking their favorite stocks or sports teams, interacting with friends, or staying current on news and information,” the companies said.

Just a few months ago, Widgets.com was listed for sale by Rick Schwartz on Ebay. If Yahoo employed forward thinking like Rick Schwartz, they would own the perfect domain right now. Well, I guess if Yahoo really thought like that, they would be owned by Microsoft now, but that’s another story.
Now, with dropping PPC payouts, Rick has begun to develop Widgets.com. While Widgets.com certainly wouldn’t have come cheap months ago, the value of this great generic domain name continues to climb.

Property.com Sold by King; Properties.com Retained

As everyone knows by now, Rick Schwartz just sold Property.com in one of the most lucrative domain deals ever. One of the coolest things about this is that Rick still owns Properties.com, which I believe is on par with Property.com. With the buyer’s plans to develop Property.com into a huge real estate marketplace, the value of Properties.com is now much greater than before.
Congratulations to Rick on another market shaking deal. Also, congratulations to Kevin of BigTicketDomains.com for finding the buyer in the deal.

Playboy Launching Gay Station – Did Rick Hit it Big Again?

According to a news story first released by XBIZ.com and followed-up today in an article in the New York Post, Playboy has announced that they will be launching a gay-themed television station/video channel. According to the article,

“Playboy Enterprises, the parent company behind the famous girlie magazine for men, confirmed they are launching a gay-porn cable station that could start operating as soon as next month.”

While the offering is currently being called “Gay Targeted VOD Package Service,” one would think that the name “Gayboy” sounds much more marketable. Interestingly enough, a Whois search shows the domain name Gayboy.com (a parked page) is owned by an investment company in the Caribbean, and a Historical Whois search shows the domain name was previously owned by Virtual Dates, a company founded by Rick Schwartz.

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