Minds & Machines: “Dot Com is Dead”

Screen Shot 2013-12-08 at 7.18.44 PMI thought you might find this provocative Facebook sponsored advertisement from Minds & Machines to be interesting, and perhaps even humorous. As you can see, the headline says “Dot Com is Dead” and the text below it reads “Long live the new Top Level Domains.”

Clicking the link takes you directly to the Minds & Machines website, where you can reserve gTLD domain names in the .best, .casa, .ceo, .cooking and .horse extensions.

It certainly seems to be wishful thinking on the part of Minds & Machines, and Ron Jackson’s weekly domain name sales report on DNJournal would seem to indicate otherwise.

I’d love to ask Minds & Machines CEO Antony Van Couvering if he really thinks “.com is dead” or if he was just trying to drive traffic with a suggestive headline.

Elliot Silver
Elliot Silver
About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of DomainInvesting.com. Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has closed eight figures in deals. Please read the DomainInvesting.com Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest. Reach out to Elliot: Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn


  1. All these hucksters can try to do is trash .COM, as their products are clearly inferior. Advertising like that is only going to hurt their own credibility.

    .COM is dead. .Horse is clearly the future!


    • Its quite clearly a marketing tactic to try and drive traffic and build links/social interactions.

      I don’t think anyone in there right mind would think the biggest, most used and most known extension is dead or is going to be dead any time soon – especially from the ‘low quality’ gTLDs they are advertising!

      .cooking is the only gTLD from those listed which I can see maybe getting a few registrations, but they wouldn’t come from the silly/funny title of “Dot Com Is Dead” which IMHO is just a poor attempt of using a title which might make people think its worth ready to see what the reason behind such a bold title is…

  2. What’s that website associated with the post? Mindsandmachines.COM?

    It’s just a cheap headline in a desperate attempt to attract attention. Those 5 extensions they are peddling are horrible.

  3. Oh, look. How novel and shocking.
    Someone with a huge financial interest in seeing something happening is insisting that it’s going to happen.

    Wow. Unprecedented!

  4. BUT:

    Don’t underestimate how utterly clueless ‘tech’ is on domain names, which are essentially a marketing department thing, not a ‘tech’ thing. I know people who get VCs fighting with each other to fund the next time they take a dump, sincerely brilliant and immensely accomplished people in the tech world, who still haven’t figured out that really, .co isn’t a ‘game changer’.

    These aren’t stupid people yet for whatever reason, domains are something they just don’t ‘get’ usually because they’re trapped in the hand-register mentality.

  5. A Mind is a terrible Machine to waste! LOL
    But if this is their best sales method, grab the popcorn.
    This strategy is INSANE and SILLY.
    ALL the gTLD’s look foolish not just them.
    So we now have Mind and Machines and Donuts beating the same dead horse drum.
    If they believe this CRAP that they are desperate to peddle, and desperation is the keyword, then they should let all their dot com domains drop.

    My only thought is if they are this desperate now, what do they do when things actually do get desperate?

  6. Hi Elliot,

    It’s an ad, and we’re testing. That’s all. If people click on it, that’s one measure of its effectiveness. It worked on you, so maybe it’s a keeper! Anyway, you could hardly expect me to put up an ad that said the opposite…


    • Smart.

      I own some high value .coms, more than most people, and I can tell you .com is only worth a fraction of what it used to be from a developer perspective.

      The value will continue to decrease as SEO / Social continue to evolve and play larger roles in how people find things. People will argue all day long about the lost type-in or rather type-o traffic but I assure you everyone here type-in is not what it used to be and it won’t sink any ships anytime soon.

      Some industries will be effected more than others but the device change along with SEO changes and the new offering of gTLDs will certainly reduce the value of a .com.

      It would be interesting to see the data on the various campaigns you guys are running. I suspect the “dot com is dead” click through is going to be far less then the “get the new you’ve always wanted -gTLD” market. Fun stuff to test in any event.

    • My opinion is the average SMB will want to tell customers to visit brand.com for the foreseeable future.

      Yes, .com matters less for search, but I think it is still authoritative, good for branding, and easier to recall than a lesser used TLD.

    • I agree to a certain extent…

      But you have 7,8,9 figure companies coming out now that can only muster up landing pages on their .coms and just focus entirely on their tablet/mobile experience. Even more companies that bypass .com all together.

      Doesn’t matter what we think, search is how people find things and in search the extension will not matter. The change they made to EMDs was in my view the greatest hit on their value.

      Going forward you type in whatever into google/bing and the best result will win. Most often its the most relevant, updated site the has a buzz, social buzz, and all sorts of other factors that bump it to the top. I don’t think extension is a factor

    • Didn’t you pay $700k for MathGames.com? Yes .com why didn’t you buy the lesser extension for a 1/100th fraction of that??? If you feel what you stated is true… I don’t know who to trust in this industry anymore…

    • I guess you will tell whatever BS lies you need to tell to sell your goods at the end of the day, real ethical company you run there… Misleading consumers to get a cheap fix… Your going places no name guy…

    • Outside North America direct type-in is not a factor. However, the brand com is a factor as is national pride (Italy) in the cc, the brand creates satisfaction to ourselves & others. The changes to EMD’s is not valid factor. The gtld classified lists will not guarantee relevant quality content. I think Kim Dotcom should complain about this obituary.

    • Sorry wanda type in happens all around the world. In native language as well as in English when its not the native language. EMD used to have a massive bump when it came to SEO when that was dialled back so was .coms overall value.

      Anyone that *thinks* dot com has done up in value needs to answer a few simple questions…

      a) Does having a dot com boosts your SERPs position?
      b) Does having a dot com provide natural type in traffic?

      If the answer is yes then the value is going to increase, if the value is no or declining then obviously the value will decline over time.

      There are exceptions to this, not a.. dot coms are equal. You have short LLLL, 1234, catchy domains, true category killers, EMD, Long tails ect… each effected differently per industry so its not a winner takes all type game. Those just make good headlines.

      However the only way to say dot com value is going up in the face of more choice (gTLDs) and less value (decline in typin/SEO Value) is to wear blinders and avoid the facts.

      Doesn’t mean the world is crashing around dot coms, just means the downward pressure continues and will continue to put pressure on .com

      That said I think 80%+ of the new gTLDs will bomb, but the other 20%~ that do well will really open up the net for everyone to get good domains they can build cool things on. Which is really what domains are for…

    • Ref “type in happens all around the world” Sorry Bill. You are wrong, compared to North America the percentage is insignificant. Good luck with the .net though.

    • wanda I’d love to hear were you draw this from? Experience? Sites you’ve built? Please do share 🙂

      As for the good luck with the .net part goes show your maturity level.

    • So Bill you have anything invested in these new GTLD’s, I saw you were making a run for a chair on the .ca board recently, full disclosure is a beautiful thing?

    • Full disclosure on what? Not sure how running (failed) for a CIRA director spot has anything to do with gTLDs.

      I have not invested anything on new gTLDs, however I’d give a large sum of money to the guys that end up with .game(s) if I could own/operate it.

      I have a high degree of confidence in the dot coms I own, the value and the risks which is why I don’t feel the need to act like the sky is falling even if some clouds are gathering. The entire community seems so polarized on this issue needlessly. Did everyone miss the most recent TLDs that have launched? Everyones talking about ones that were live 10 years ago, anyone miss what dot CO is doing? Hard to say they are failing and they have no more value then .web or .dotwhatever in my view.

      I have no doubt there will be many breakout gTLDs, and much more commercial failures. At the same time dot com will continue to steam along, select domains will continue to break records to the right buyers. I think the thing that scares most people is the DarnThisNameisCrap.com will value will (already has) fall through the floor once something.better comes out that costs way less and is treated the same by search engines.

    • Bill, like Ron I’m very interested in knowing the rationale behind your purchase of MathGames.com for reported 725k this year. If you could buy Math.Game for say 10k, would you not have bought MathGames.com? Do you think even the very best dot com names will eventually level off in prices?

    • That’s just called ignorance. I have made a few 100 a month from a typo of a .ca domain for a client. You can get typo traffic in any extension. I also have owned some typos in other extensions too, back in the day.

    • It’s not a simple answer, the interview I did on domainsherpa sheds some light. Its certainly not as simple was what extension to select. I would not have swapped mathgames.com for math.game(s). Different assets completely.

      I think dot game is neat because it will be a gTLD that lends itself well to brands. So gametitle.game, game release.game ect… so you have that brand value which I think is strong along with the gTLD which is generic.

      I don’t have much interest on building on a gTLD at this time. Operating/owning the got game(s) gTLD in its entirety would be something different though.

      As for your question about .com prices, I think they already have fallen off. While I was able to buy math games at 725, for years and year he didn’t even reply to me at offer prices over 1 million. The domain was making over 1k parked every day back then.

      So I think you will always have breakout sales, but I don’t think the volume will ever be there like it used to be. And before everyone says what about all the XX unreported sales bla bla bla, that shadow inventory of unreported sales always existed even during the 2005-2007 years.

      Mutualfunds was a big sale but I can tell you 3-5 years back you’d get a reply to your email if your offer was less then a few million.

  7. If you want to reserve a .whatever you can do that on a whatever.com…..Will any of the .whatever’s drop or sell their .com domain since it’s dead?….

  8. Anyone can say anything.
    It doesn’t make it factual.
    You have to question what is their underlying intentions when they make bold statements.

    “New York City is dead.”
    “Long live the new top city – Wheeling, West Virginia”

    Sign – Wheeling Chamber of Commerce

  9. You just have to keep rubbing your ruby slippers together and keep repeating “dot com is dead, gTLD’s will rule” …”dot com is dead, gTLD’s will rule”…”dot com is dead, gTLD’s will rule”

    …if you REALLY believe and say it enough times, maybe it will come true 😉

  10. @David – That’s understandable, but still a weird way to impress your investors when M&M proclaims ‘dot com is dead’ yet, they continue to use .com for their own main domain/website. Kinda contradictory no?

  11. They need to take that .horse out to the pasture and shoot it. That has got to be one of the worst GTLD’s I have ever seen.
    I must admit though that “Dot Com is Dead” is very catchy and I am sure they are getting tons of traffic. This is just the beginning of the Dot Com bashing. Go figure, dotcomisdead.com was registered in mar of 2000 which was the exact month of the climax of the dot com bubble.

  12. Let the games begin. This is just the beginning as the marketers are unleashed into the arena of promoting the gTDLs. Be prepared for the greatest show on earth.

    • I tend to agree with you, Elliot. But, conversely, this type of blatant propaganda can do tremendous damage to the uninitiated. And that certainly won’t do our industry any favors. For the record, I have nothing against the new TLDs and hope everyone does well. But to say dotCOM is dead is terribly misleading. The new TLDs should prosper on their own marketing potential without resorting to attacking the Gold Standard.

    • Couldn’t disagree more.

      There will be more money spent on promoting spurious, misleading claims and hyperbole in the first 12 months of the new GTLD going live than has been spent to date by the entire domain name industry. That can only hurt the perceived legitimacy of the industry, as ever more ludicrous stunts pulled by desperate new GTLD operators trying to dodge the corporate Reaper will tarnish everyone else by association.

      A parallel example could be painted from the real estate industry: ticks along happily for decades, when suddenly there are thousands of new realtors advertising “prime” land, which actually turns out to be swamp, landfill sites, nuclear waste repositories, partially cleared minefields, graveyards, steep mountainsides, and toxic sludge ponds backing onto sewage processing plants. How does that raise the profile of the real estate industry, and benefit its long-term players?

      Somebody needs to restart “F-dCompanies.com” for the new GTLD sector of the domain industry. I’m certain there will be hundreds of “members” within a couple of years.

    • Hi,
      I think that this is a very interesting view point. I think the advertising for the new gTLDs is giving more attention to the domain industry itself.
      Even in a country like India,where I am from, where 99.99% of population are not aware of the difference between a website and a domain, there is a sudden surge of interest in domain industry in general due to aggressive marketing for the new gTLDs especially by GOdaddy.

  13. Yeah I get it. I see where they are going with this.
    Why not just drop the .com and go with an .es in this case.

    It’s like 1000 dudes or domains in a bar. The dudes are the whatevers and the .com is the only lady in bar. Now try and get her attention.

    Half of these extensions will be a pump and dump.


  14. The .COM bashing is really a technique we call .COM Drafting. Much as a weaker goose drafts behind a stronger lead goose, in a flight pattern formation. The best the gTLDs can hope for is to vicariously identify themselves in the same breath as a .COM. The .COM Brand is a strong draw to bring attention to the weaker gTLD Derivatives. This illusionary mind games overall effect, reinforces the .COM Brands dominant Strategic position.

    Gratefully, Jeff Schneider (Contact Group) (Metal Tiger)

  15. Bunch of Hogwash propaganda based on self-serving money grab motives… This typa crap is dragging down further the reputation and/or credibility of the domain sector .. Sooo many of the new gTLD proponents (only a limited few new extentions on the launch pad have true viability or real substance) seem to be just blatantly selling out there souls & reps in self-directed fashion for temporary money grab opportunities …and dragging down the rep of the domain industry to the world at the same time….. Sooooo much more of this pain & noise to endure of the next cupla years.. Oh the Horror !!!

  16. When someone first told you about Youtube did you search for it ?
    When someone first told you about Facebook did you search for it ?
    When someone first told you about Chatroulette did you search for it ?
    When someone first told you about instagram did you search for it ?
    When someone first told you about snapchat did you search for it ?

    God help us all for those of you who did.

    Search is how people find out about what kind of car, toy, electronics, etc to buy. It’s not the only way someone finds a company. It’s not how word of mouth will travel about your cool new site/service/business or how the name of your company resonates with your user base.

    Search is dead, long live .com

  17. I would rather see the case of dead.horse, this thing doesn’t have a chance in hell, guessing they might be seeing they screwed up, and are desperate to recoup losses, and answer investors. .horse has to be one of the worst gtlds of all time.

    The low life tactics needed to get attention are simply a cry for help and it is time to gag.horse

  18. BTW, you’ve got to love the juxtaposition at the end of this line from ‘Mindless Machines’ main lander:

    “Official Priority Reservations available for .best, .casa, .ceo, .cooking and .horse.”

  19. I agree with the “They are using a dotcom” statement. Whenever I go to a new vehicle launch I take my old vehicle to get there. Rockets need one or more boosters to get into orbit and a good [gtld].com or [dotGTLD].com or even [DotGTLDdomains].com is the vehicle and rocket booster thee guys should be embracing to launch their GTLD.

    We are about to see hundreds of marketing efforts each with their own brilliant strategies to catapult their extension above all others. Some marketing strategies will work, Most won’t.

    Reminds me of a time at golf when I was calculating the wind and undulations on a shot to the green. A veteran golfer saw me struggling and when I told him my complex calculations and intended strategy he said … “Why don’t you just aim for the pin”

    Buying a good dot com to attract GTLD buyers is not only sage advice but in the end will help GTLD registries protect their namespace and provide them a sellable business asset one day if they choose.

  20. and the Verbal diarrhea continues:

    1)They are directing/re-directing people to a DOT COM.
    as Napoleon Dynamite would say: ‘Idiots’

    Elliott, you should include their URL in the title to see how Moronic their claim is…

    2)Statements like this one (and the dot xyz ridiculous presentation at thedomains) just evidence how “Panic is already setting in”, the jockeying for position among them will be furious “at whatever cost” even to the point of lying and using scare tactics, some of the New gTLD don’t even have a clear strategy when it comes to their so called “premium” domains…

    3) One can only assume with the dilution that the new gTLD’ market will face none of these domains will ever achieve a 7 figure sale, in the meantime digest this:

    IG.com $4,700,000 Igloo
    KK.com $2,400,000.00 Moniker.
    114.com $2,100,000
    eBet.com :$1,350,000 Schwartz

    Fix.com $850,000
    Hot.com $850,000
    MathGames.com $725,000
    ReverseMortgages.com $600,000

    Finances.com $500,000

    Housing.com $500,000

    Brand.com $500,000
    Body.com $380,000
    Booker.com $375,000
    Ride.com $325,000
    from dnjournal.com

    And this ‘sales report’ is missing dozens of unpublished equally sizable sales such as the recent MutualFunds.com most likely another 7 figure sale.

    -Robert Fernandez

  21. .com won’t die but the new gtld registries will taint our entire industry.

    Seems like Mind and Machines company is already “eating its own” by striking out against the gold standard.

    So, M&M is already trying to destabilize our industry.


    If you are looking forward to the gtld rollouts, you are looking forward to a civil war.

    Pick a side… gtld on offense trying to conquer the .com empire and MANY soldiers who will fight to keep the empire in tact.

    End result are MANY casualties on both sides.

    Thanks Mind and Machines for the shot heard round the world 🙁

    • That’s just it Jason they do remember. They remember the rush in the beginning, they remember the pumped up auctions etc. They don’t care if the owner was successful or not any more than a bike shop owner cares if you can ride a bike!

  22. RE: The comment back to Rick from Antony Van Couvering… what a stupid ass answer, reminds me of some of the Johnny on the spot answers I had to give to my professors back in the day… wait a minute…. what about .ass?

  23. @Fred Krueger.
    The dumbest analagy you can use is the AM radio, 8 Track Tape, etc.
    Because FM brought a better quality to the sound of radio.
    Today’s technology beats the 8 Trac because of better sound.
    Companies die (Kodak comes to mind) because they do not keep up with the times and improve.
    How is a .horse, .best going to improve on anything that .com does???

    • much better if you are in the horse world.

      .com tells you nothing at all about the site.

      fred.com — could be about anything. fred.horse is clearly about horses. plus it’s three orders of magnitude cheaper than fred.com

    • Freddy Krueger something tells me your and Mind & Machines nightmare is only starting, even Wolfgang Puck doesn’t want to endorse your GTLD’s, you guys are stretching hard, I hope you put your house on the back of this investment, something tells me you are in deep do dah on this one, and you just figured it out uh oh…

    • Okay, you take fred.com as an example.
      I guess one would have to spend a lot money to tell you what fred.com is.
      However, the same goes for fred.horse (otherwise, how would anyone know to type it into the browser)
      Oh wait, I will have to wait for today’s 16 year old to grow up, get some money, and be interested in buying my fred.com horse stuff. (WOW)

      Look, I will tell you what I have been saying before.
      When .tv came out, I almost jumped at buying a generic .tv.
      After all, our local NBC4 Channel got NBC4.tv and after their 10 year contract ended, they are now known as NBC4.com.
      I am so glad I did not waste a penny on the .tv and cannot understand stand the difference of this versus .tv, .travel, .whatever.

      I have looked at all the explanations including Rick and Franks debates and still not convinced.

      Bye the way, why is 1on1.com not advertising as heavily the new TLDs as they use to be?

    • What does Fred.horse tell me? Is Fred a horse feeding service? Food for horses? A stabling for horses service? A horse doctor? A horse racing bet service? A horse trainer? Is Fred a horse? I still get nothing.

  24. You know, I just had a eureka moment.

    I’m going to jump the fence to the new TLD side and claim .com is dead from the mountaintops, meanwhile I’ll keep buying lots of great .com domains.

  25. .COM is dead?

    Strangely enough, ShowHorse.com remains a living website.

    Maybe they’ll have to pay an extortionate registry for the pointless privilege of forwarding Show.Horse to the property they already own and have developed.

    Maybe they’ll be offended by the attempted extortion and say No.

    What they certainly WON’T do is give up their .COM.

    At best, something like .HORSE doubles the financial burden on “horse”-named startups, since they’d now presumably need some .HORSE along with the matching .COM. But, picking just one domain, they’ll mostly bet on the safe horse, which remains .COM.

  26. Hundreds new extensions with potentially millions new web addresses. Still only 3 top 3 spots on search engine. Simple math says Something has to give. Type ins will be a huge part of the GTLD registry marketing story IMO.

    Word of caution, this headline was a good find by Elliot and certainly a hot button of conversation but everybody… save some enthusiasm opinion and vitrol. Plenty of such spine tingling and ire raising stories to come as the GTLD program saga unfolds IMO and remember to paraphrase the Domain King what you says will be On the record for the record and for all to see for years to come.

  27. Having just been to ICANN I truly feel sorry for some of the investors in many of these tlds. I have no skin in the game of .com vs new tlds and if I am wrong then good for new tld owners.. I DONT GAMBLE BUT I WOULD GAMBLE MONEY AGAINST MANY OF THESE TLDS.

    I have been doing this domain stuff for many year including at a top Registrar. I am at a complete loss on some of these tlds and the money being invested in them. Its as if they took a list of top keyword search terms and just started dreaming up endings based on that. A successful tld has nothing to do with that kind of stuff.

    Minds and Machines could have takne the same money and bought a guaranteed revenue stream by buying a registrar or some other tech company with a guaranteed residual model and real and existing EBITDA. Thats what I did with my money vs buy into new tlds because its a total gamble. Even if it works I believe better returns could have been had elsewhere with that money.

    I heard the speeches at ICANN and for the few that do think they have model (many tld applicants are just hoping this will work) basically the mantra is everyone will use their domain as a gateway to their identity blah blah blah. I do not believe any of these people have ever tried to sell a website or domain to a housewife, horse enthusiast, plumber or any of these other categories they came up with. People in general are just not as interested as domains as we think they are. Many of the tlds come with the need for massive amounts of marketing into the vertical to explain and convince the vertical to get on board and buy a domain. Oops that costs money, lots and lots of advertising dollars, agencies, marketing staff…Oh and its a $15-100 a year item. Want to sell them some fancy website along with it? That takes sales people. It takes a lot of money to approach any vertical. From personal experience we spent a lot of money one year advertising in .LA to push .LA. We saw no noticeable sales action from 200-300k in advertising over a few month.

    Web developers and seo guys sit and trash the .com loving domainer but I still do not see one of them buying mycomputerco.horse for a client. They are rarely even buy a .co domain for a client.

    The tlds owners have now created a bunch of verticals and not only do the verticals come with a smaller amount of prospects but now the potential domains that make sense for the tld is much smaller. Boats.cooking is not going sell.

    At least a few like .xyz are general and any word or company makes sense along with the extension (still up hill battle for them but more possible) because at least http://www.fullmonty.xyz is possible but no way for http://www.fullmonty.cooking.

    Next- these people are in deep because of the ICANN process and because once you spend hundreds of thousands of dollars (small guy) to millions of dollars (big guys) you can’t quite. Anyone ever have a venture that is partly working but just not quite making the cash flow it needs to pay the bills? Usually the owners put in more money under the guise is it just needs a little more capital and 8 times out of 10 lose everything. These tld people have been in a situation where they can’t make any money but have to keep spending for years and they are a long time away from having any data to tell them if this is going to work. I again go back to the fact that they could have invested this money in other things and probably doubled the investment in the last 3 years.

    There will be many many losers and some winners. Registrars are winners because they are just a middleman and just make money from a transaction.

    Further prediction is Divyank will somehow how make a hundred million dollars from new tlds when others fail because he always does 🙂


  28. Anthony,

    I don’t really think you hurt domaining or .com if you are successful so no problem if I am wrong but while we are all waiting I would really like to here why you selected some extensions like .cooking and what the strategy is and how many you need to sell to be successful.



    Over the past 13 years, how many domains have been sold for more than $10K each? Now, total those domain investment dollars and ask yourself which of the following two statements is more likely to be true?

    [ ] A. dotCOM is dead and the total cash invested in those premium, $10K+ domains has largely been reduced to rubble; OR

    [ ] B. The suggestion that “Dot Com is dead” is pure, unadulterated BS.

    Don’t forget to use a no. 2 pencil.

  30. At the end of the day,it will be left for the management of google search to decide who the winner will be. Google might decide to give more priority to some new .something. I see to realtor being a success cus of the limitations. Dont forget big business see domainers as cyber squatters thus will favour more of the new tld who have control over their buyers

  31. The last rumblings of the dinosaurs before the new TLD meteorites strike. Search engine algorithms will be redefined for more selective targeting. Com wont be dead but neither will it be the vibrant force it once was. More like a lumbering behemoth amidst the agile, focused new TLDs. The internet is about to change forever with those prepared to embrace change able to capitalise on it.

    Bear in mind Google are one of the big 4 companies in the new TLD space

  32. I have domain brownbagshop.com intending to develop into a prestige brand bargain basement type site. Then I thought how about brownbag.shop problem is sounds like a site selling brown bags.

    Got my eye on a couple though.

    • Why do you think Brown Bag Shop sounds like a prestigious brand? I assume you’re trying to play off of Bloomingdales’ brown bags, but that would seem like a knock off and they might have marks related to “brown bag” in the luxury space. Not sure.


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