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Multitasking: News Watching & Domain Investing

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I was watching the news last night and there was a story about New York City offering nicotine patches to people trying to quit their smoking habit. Instead of calling them “nicotine patches,” the news anchor referred to them as “tobacco patches.” I hadn’t heard that reference before, but I thought that if a person with a teleprompter in front of him made this error, there are probably others out there who might do the same thing.

I quickly did a Whois search for TobaccoPatch.com and saw that the name was registered in 1998, although the domain name doesn’t resolve. I searched for TobaccoPatches.com, and voila, it was unregistered! I snatched it up and will park it to see if anyone is making the same mistake as the television anchor. Just a few clicks a year, and the name will pay for itself. I know a name like this is certainly a gamble, but I would rather take my chances on this than on creating a random word that doesn’t exist.

Hecta Media Goes Public on AIM

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Hecta Media LogoI received an email from Clark Landry, a person who I had a nice conversation with at Ad:Tech. Clark is the CEO of Hecta Media, which just went public on the London AIM exchange. Hecta Media is a company whose purpose is to acquire and make investments in profitable niche content websites and domain portfolios.

According to Landry, the founders, (Clark Landry and Fred Krueger), are serial entrepreneurs who have founded or provided seed investment for a variety of internet content companies and advertising networks including TagWorld, Adconion, Traffic Marketplace, and iwin.com, among others. Said Landry, “Hecta Media is interested in acquiring premium domain portfolios and niche developed content websites.”

From the press release following their first day of trading provided via email:

“The directors of Hecta Media Inc (AIM: HCTA), a web consolidator, are pleased to announce that all of the Company’s 162,266,456 Ordinary Shares have today been admitted for trading on AIM valuing the Company at £6.5 million.

Hecta Media is a British Virgin Islands (”BVI”) registered company whose purpose is to make broadly distributed investments in niche content web sites and vertically targeted, branded domains. Using a combination of Ordinary Shares and cash to make targeted acquisitions, the Company intends to build a portfolio of high-traffic websites monetized through search and display advertising. Hecta Media will focus its efforts on active investment in websites and domains established in the UK, continental Europe, and the United States. The websites in which Hecta Media intends to invest will typically be simple, profitable businesses with few employees and positive cash flow. Hecta Media aims to consolidate a number of such websites across a few specific verticals, with the purpose of creating advantages of scale in each vertical market. The Directors intend that Hecta Media will acquire sites by offering a combination of cash and Ordinary Shares to the owners of the sites, providing fungible assets to owners looking for a suitable exit strategy by which to realize the value of the businesses they have created. The Directors consider that current market conditions provide good opportunities for investment in a wide variety of suitable websites which can meet Hecta Media’s strategic objectives – the Company having recently raised GBP4.67 mill ion.”

Congratulations to Clark and the rest of his management team. The domain industry is full of opportunity!

More information about Hecta Media can be found in an article in The Independent.

Trend Spotting & Domain Names

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One of the smartest things a domain investor can do is read the newspaper, watch the news, follow popular culture blogs (like TMZ.com), and even observe kids at the mall in order to spot trends and capitalize.

There was a television commercial for Ameritrade a few months ago showing a father responding to his daughter’s request for money to buy jeans, and his reaction was to buy stock in the company that produces the jeans. Domain investors should do the exact same thing, but instead of buying stock, we should buy relevant domain names. For the domain investor with a good amount of cash, he should have been looking to acquire a name like Jeans.com or Denim.com, and for people without that type of income, names like JeansShop.com or JeansOutlet.com could have been good buys.

One of the keys to buying valuable domain names is to acquire names that are meaningful and would be desired by others. Owning a name that is either the generic category killer for a popular trend or a name that represents part of that category is usually a good buy. Stick to generic names, and you should come out on top.

Buying stock in a growing company is fun, but you really have no control over the performance of the stock. Owning a domain name in a growing industry is much more fun, and you completely control how you develop, monetize, or sell the name.

Vista.com & VISTA TM Sold for $1.25 Million

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The domain name Vista.com and the VISTA trademarks were sold by Innuity for $1.25 million. You can read the press release covering the sale here.

Sahar also has some commentary about the sale here. I think Vista.com is a fantastic generic domain name. It illustrates the topic of “domain usage.” Regardless of whether a huge company owns a trademark for the word, someone else can own it as long as the content doesn’t infringe on the other trademark.

Online .TV Anchors Interactive Cheese Campaign

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An English cheesemaker has capitalized on a great marketing campaign by auctioning off a slab of cheese that had been the focus of 24 hour web television coverage seen by visiting cheddarvision.tv. After receiving over 1.65 million views on the website since December of 2006, and countless other views on its dedicated Myspace page, the 44 pound block of cheese is now listed for sale on Ebay.

This has to be one of the smartest interactive marketing campaigns I’ve seen in a while. The cheesemakers created interest for the past year using a .tv website, a Myspace page and a YouTube listing, and now they are using their website to direct interested viewers to the auction. The bidding is currently up to £520.00, and I can only hope that the typical scammers that place shill bids leave this auction alone.

Motley Fool on Internet Stocks

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The Motley Fool takes a look at 4 Internet Stocks Under the Radar, including Marchex, Autobytel, Copernic and Jupitermedia.

Although I would debate that Marchex is really under the radar, its good to see them receiving some coverage by the mainstream investment media. Marchex owns a huge domain portfolio with some fantastic domain names.

*As a disclaimer, I don’t own stock in Marchex (or any of the other companies) because I think its wise to have a diverse investment portfolio.

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