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Kudos to the USPS for “Getting It!”

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On October 3, I blogged about the United States Postal Service’s campaign to make consumers aware of threats posed by scammers. In that post, I said that the campaign was great, but “the USPS should never have used a .org domain name where the .com is taken. If they needed to have that specific .org, they should have bought the .com for whatever it cost.” Well, as it turns out, the USPS did buy FakeChecks.com the following day. According to the Whois History service, they utilized the services of Sedo on 10/4, and it now shows the USPS as current owners.

Congratulations to the USPS for “getting it” both figuratively, and for litterally getting it, by purchasing the name they needed much more than the previous owner. Now all they need to do is forward that URL to FakeChecks.org, as the .com currently shows a “Welcome to Your New Virtual Private Server!” message.

PPS Aggregators —-> Emerging Opportunity

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My father has been in the home fashions business for his entire life, and he has owned his store in New Hampshire since 1984. Although he has a 3,000 square foot store, custom window treatments, which take up about 20% of the store, generate about 80% of the business.

On occasion, I would hear my father complain about companies that would advertise their window treatment “stores” in the Yellow Pages, when in fact, they operated out of a van. While nothing can really replace the comfort of going into a store, working with a knowledgeable sales clerk and purchasing a product, the people who run their van-stores are onto something. They have little to no inventory, they outsource what they can’t do, and they have no physical overhead except van maintenance.

This is a great business model that should be applied to domain names in the form of a PPS (pay per sale) store. Many domain investors have few connections with product manufacturers. Likewise, most product manufacturers have few connections with domain owners. What we need is for a middle man development company to be created to form relationships with product manufacturers and domain owners to create custom stores where the domain owner only has to change his DNS. No templates to mess with, no customer service call center to train, no more work than a standard PPC page. If the domain owner wants to enhance is site(s), the templates should have the ability to add content to make them more unique to build brand loyalty and encourage customers to return. This is similar to what Joe Davison was talking about in the “Niche-Specific Stores” section of his July post

I think this is one way in which PPC aggregators will evolve into PPS aggregators. Current web advertisers will be happy when they are paying on a net sale basis rather than on a per click basis. Domain owners will be compensated nicely because the value of a customer would drastically increase.   The PPS aggregators would be happy to receiving a % of all sales. I believe this is much more beneficial to all parties.

There are some domain owners/investors who already do something similar, and I think they have a great business model.   The idea behind this post is for something that can be applied to everyone who owns a domain name on a large scale rather than a few companies who are well ahead of the game.

Register Domain Names for Charity

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Below are a few unregistered domain names I believe have good potential. Although I am not charging anything for researching these names, I am requesting that the person who registers each makes a donation to a non-profit organization.

AircraftCharterRental.com
AlcoholPermitConsultants.com
ClippingBureaus.com
BridalCouturier.com
FilingConsultants.com
FloodControlEquipment.com
HistoricalOrganizations.com
MailReceivingService.com

You don’t need to tell me how much was donated, but I would love to know which charity was helped, so please drop me a line after!

A few non-profits I recommend (with the link to make a donation):

Dana Farber Cancer Institute
ALS Association
The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation
Susan G. Komen Foundation for the Cure for Breast Cancer
Simon Wiesenthal Center
Meir Panim
American Cancer Society
Turning Point (Domestic Violence Organization)

Charities Previously Helped By Generous Readers of My Blog:

The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation
Simon Wiesenthal Center
Dana Farber Cancer Institute
ALS Association
Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

Follow-Up on USPS FakeChecks.org Campaign

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Yesterday I blogged about the USPS’ new anti-scam campaign directing people to FakeChecks.org. The whole point of my post wasn’t to criticize the Postal Service – I think the campaign is smart and the message is good. However, I believe there is a good chance many viewers will end up on the wrong website, not owned by the USPS.

A perfect example can be found on the KETV 3 website, a Santa Barbara news station. Directly from their website:

“According to the US Postal Service, scam victims lose $3,500 on average and are often responsible to repay banks for the money lost. The Post Service met with officials and residents to issue warnings and give tips on how you can avoid being scammed. The US Postal Service and Postal Inspection Service have set up a website at www.fakechecks.com so you can report fraudulent activity.”

Whether we like it or not, many people automatically assume a domain name is a .com no matter what the extension is. This confusion could potentially lead people to the wrong website, as can be seen by this inadvertant news article.

Register Domains for Charity

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Below are a few unregistered domain names I believe have good potential. Although I am not charging anything for researching these names, I am requesting that the person who registers each makes a donation to a non-profit organization.

CookingInstructor.com
CookingInstructors.com
CookingDictionaries.com
ScienceInstructors.com
RealEstateDictionaries.com
InvestingTeachers.com
InvestingDictionaries.com
TaxDictionaries.com
HomelessHousingShelter.com
HomelessHousingShelters.com

You don’t need to tell me how much was donated, but I would love to know which charity was helped, so please drop me a line after!

A few non-profits I recommend (with the link to make a donation):

Dana Farber Cancer Institute
ALS Association
The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation
Susan G. Komen Foundation for the Cure for Breast Cancer
Simon Wiesenthal Center
Meir Panim
American Cancer Society
Turning Point (Domestic Violence Organization)

Charities Previously Helped By Generous Readers of My Blog:
Simon Wiesenthal Center
Dana Farber Cancer Institute
ALS Association
Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

Good Commercial, Poor Domain Choice

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I just saw a television commercial sponsored by the United States Postal Service, and although I am not surprised by the lack of forward thinking, I am shaking my head that the USPS just doesn’t get it.    

The advertisement (during primetime MLB playoffs) begins with a disheveled looking man walking onto a bus and choosing a seat next to a woman.    He begins by informing her that she just won a random lottery sponsored by a clearly fictitious organization.    To claim the multi-million dollar prize, all she needs to do is write the man a check to cover some random fees.    Essentially, the man is playing the part of an in-person Nigerian scammer commonly seen online.

It is a clever advertisement (and ongoing campaign) playing on the fact that these scams are much more obvious in person than online, and people need to beware when they receive suspicious emails.    I dig the message.    I think it is very important for non-web savvy people to know about these scams, know how to spot them, and know what to do when they come across one.

HOWEVER, the commercial ends with a large graphic directing people to visit FakeChecks.org for more information.    GUESS WHAT!    FakeChecks.COM is owned by someone else.    How many people do you think will accidentally directly navigate to the .com in error – especially considering some web browsers automatically enter the .com extension?    The USPS should never have used a .org domain name where the .com is taken.    If they needed to have that specific .org, they should have bought the .com for whatever it cost.    They then should have forwarded the .com traffic to the .org so they didn’t lose any eyes. The advertising campaign probably cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.    Why would they chance sending confused consumers to the wrong domain name, especially considering the message.        

This reminds me of the time Dick Cheney quoted something from FactCheck.org and accidentally directed people to FactCheck.com, owned by none other than Frank Schilling.

This has to be one of the most ironic, idiotic campaigns I’ve seen in a long time. The USPS just doesn’t get it!    

Just to be a bit more clear, I am not advocating that the USPS shouldn’t have used a .org.    I think the .org suits this campaign quite well.   I think they might have been  wise to choose another domain name where the .com was available, as people will inevitably enter the wrong extension.   In my opinion, many consumers are trained to goto the “.com” extension.   Why take a chance that some consumers will do this and end up on a site not controlled by the USPS.  

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