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Dumber.com – On Snapnames 9/17

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I have put Dumber.com up for auction on Snapnames on Monday, September 17th. The reserve price is only set at $499, so this is a great opportunity to buy a great domain name at a bargain basement price. Back in 2005, the name was appraised by Sedo at a minimum of $10,000 to a maximum value of $30,000.

Place your bids tonight!

CarryOn.com: Protecting Children Online

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Carry On the Domain Charity

Thanks to Jay Westerdahl for bringing this to my attention.    The brainchild of Anthony Peppler and Sania Faucher, CarryOn.com is a 501c3 non-profit charity that allows domain owners to donate their adult domain names in lieu of monetizing them, letting them drop, expire or cancelling them.

Owners of domain names are occasionally in a bad position when they want to cleanse their portfolios of “dirty” names.    With domain tasting being so popular, pretty much any dropped/cancelled/expired domain name is picked up by someone and monetized.    Since domain owners are indefinitely listed on the virtual ownership paperwork, they are forever linked to every domain name they’ve owned.    CarryOn.com allows domain owners to donate their domain names without having to worry about them falling into the wrong hands.    Domain owners may also be eligible for a tax deduction.

This type of service could also be beneficial to owners of domain names with trademarks in them.    However, I believe this would be too risky for any charity, as the charity could become liable should the trademark owner seek financial compensation under the ACPA.    Additionally, the former domain owner would technically remain liable for owning it at one time.

Email Marketing Tips – Do’s and Don’ts

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Email can be one of the most (cost) effective ways to reach your prospects or customers. Over the past few years, I’ve learned a few things about email marketing that I’d like to share. Of course there are many other email marketing strategies and tips, but I believe these are some of the most important. Feel free to add to this list in the comment section.

Important Things to Do in your Email:

1.) Identify Yourself – With email-based fraud and scams at an all-time high, it is essential that you identify who you are to give comfort to your target prospects. Use the subject line and the email headers to say exactly who you are. Include a link to your website, and allow your prospect to follow that link and read the email on your website. Once the customer sees that the email is actually from you and your company, they will have more comfort.

2.) Use a Strong Call to Action – I’ve found that if a person doesn’t respond to an email within a couple days after sending it, they won’t respond at all (unless they happen to be on vacation). Within a couple of days or even hours, your email will move to the bottom of your prospect’s inbox, and eventually it will move out of sight. Once that happens, the chance of getting a response is slim.

3.) Make your Offer in the Subject – Since it’s very easy to delete an email or send it to the spam folder, let the customer know the purpose of the email in your subject. If you are trying to buy a domain name, perhaps your subject should be “Offer for XXXXXXX.com.” The owner is more apt to open your email if the subject is of interest. One caution is that spam filters are very strong these days, and a subject that appears to be spam may be automatically filtered. If you are selling cheap erection pills, email may not be the way to go!

4.) Provide a way to Opt Out – While you might not want to lose the ability to send future emails to prospects, it would be even worse to send an email to an annoyed customer. It’s also against the law to not include an opt-out option in commercial emails. Do yourself a favor and make this opt-out option easy to use for your prospects.

5.) Let the Prospect know how you Found his Email Address – People tend to be suspicious of random emails. If you found the email address using a Whois search, let the prospect know this. If you have an existing business relationship, you should remind the prospect of when you did business if possible, or at the very least, give information about your company in the email as a reminder.

6.) Keep your Email Short – Keep your email concise and succinct. Provide links to your website that will allow the prospect to fully examine what you are offering.

7.) Offer a Text Version of Email – Allow your prospects to read your email in HTML or text to make it as easy as possible for them. Some people prefer to read text based emails rather than emails with graphics in them. This is especially important because of the proliferation of Blackberries and Treos. It’s a pain to read a graphic based email on some mobile devices.

8.) Include Prospect’s Name in Email – Most banks and other financial institutions already include the prospect’s name in the email, but you should, too if possible. This will immediately let the prospect know that there is some sort of relationship, whether it’s between your company and the prospect or a related company and the prospect. (Only do this if you are sure the names and email addresses are correctly matched!)

9.) Read the CAN-SPAM Act Before Emailing – This is the most important suggestion. If you want to avoid any potential penalties, you MUST read the US Government’s CAN-SPAM Act. Violators of this Act can be fined up to $11,000 PER SPAM EMAIL!!

Important Things to Avoid in your Email:

1.) Don’t Send too many Emails – Even though email is free for all intents and purposes, don’t send more emails than necessary. While you may find your emails informative, your customers may find too many emails to be a nuisance. Also, every time you email your prospects, you give them the opportunity to opt out, which they will do if you annoy them. Avoid this by only sending important emails.

2.) Don’t Send Emails with Poor Grammar or Spelling Errors – When I receive an email riddled with spelling mistakes and/or poor grammar, I immediately think that it’s a spam message from a foreign country. Always use spell checker software, and if you can afford it, have a professional proofreader examine it. If you can’t afford the proofreader, have a friend or colleague review your email before sending it out.

3.) Don’t Email People who Opt Out – Never send an email to a prospect that previously opted out of receiving your email solicitations. Keep a file of email addresses that have opted out, and always purge those emails from your new prospect list to avoid re-emailing that prospect.

Here are some good resources on Email Marketing:
Dos and Don’ts of E-Mail Marketing
E-Mail Sender Lines: Do’s and Don’ts
Email Marketing Tips, Tricks and Secrets
Avoiding the Spam Filters and Other Email Marketing Tips

Domain Blogs I Read Daily

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Someone recently asked me which domain blogs I read on a daily basis, and I listed them below:

Frank Schilling’s Seven Mile Blog

Owen Frager’s The Frager Factor

Sahar Sarid’s The Conceputalist

Jay Westerdahl’s DomainTools Blog

Industry Wide Price Increase

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I just received an email from Moniker notifying me of the price increase on domain names. On October 15, 2007, the price of registering .com and .net domain names is increasing by $.50. While this 7.2% price increase may not seem too bad, it can add up depending on the size of a person’s portfolio. I haven’t received an email like this from other registrars, but I imagine everyone will be in the same boat.

“INDUSTRY WIDE PRICE INCREASE – OCTOBER 2007

As you may (or may not) have heard, there will be an industry wide price increase on October 15th 2007. .com and .net prices are going up approximately $.50 each. If you own domains that you’re looking to hold onto for long term, save money by renewing and/or registering today!” — Source: Email from Moniker

Emailing Domain Owners

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Over the past year or so, I’ve noticed a huge increase in the amount of domain inquiry spam I receive, and others have noticed, too. With the Domain Research Tool (DRT), people are able to research domain names based on various search queries, providing huge lists of domain names that meet the user’s requirements. Unfortunately, DRT can also append the email addresses of the domain name owner for each name on the list, making it far too easy for users to send out mass quantities of spam.

Although this “spam/mass email strategy” must have worked at some point, I think people should realize that it has become a nuisance for domain owners. Perhaps 5-10 owners will respond out of 5,000 emails, but for the other 4,990 people, the emailer will have tarnished his reputation and be known as a “spammer.” Just look at this thread as evidence.

In my opinion, DRT mass emails are spam by nature as they are bulk emails of a commercial nature for which the recipient cannot opt-out. Personalized emails aren’t done in bulk and are fair game. When I am interested in acquiring a domain name, I tell the owner of my interest and make a legitimate offer for the name in the initial email. When sending out mass emails, making a reasonable offer out of the gate is impossible. I believe this is what distinguishes the real offers from spammers.

I wonder if the registrars are behind some of these mass spam email campaigns to encourage users to buy their privacy guard upsell!! (Just joking)

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