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American Airlines seeks damages against Google

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American Airlines seeks damages against Google
American Airlines filed a lawsuit against Google for selling Adwords related to its trademarks (including “American Airlines”. Personally, I think the claim is ludicrous. In my opinion, the term “American Airlines” is about as generic as they come. Why can’t US Airways, another “American airline,” purchase the keyword “American airlines?” Why shouldn’t anyone who sells anything associated with American airlines buy this particular keyword? Perhaps searchers are looking for the airline, but maybe they are just looking for information about an American airline.

I hope Google fights this and wins, because this claim seems over the top to me.

More Steps to Buying A Non-Sucky Domain Name

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Stephen Spencer gives us “11 steps to buying a domain name that doesn’t suck” on the Cnet News blog yesterday. I agree that these are all important factors to consider when purchasing a domain name, and I would like to add a few additional factors that people should consider:

– Potential to Confuse Users – If you buy a domain name that has a number, some people might type in the actual number while others spell it out. Tickets4Less.com is an example. I bet some people type in TicketsForLess.com as a habit, so if you buy one you should buy the other.

Your Company Name – Although this is similar to one of the factors in Spencer’s article, the most relevant domain name to your business is the .com of your company’s name. If your business is Nashua Web Designers, you should first try to buy NashuaWebDesigners.com. Oftentimes generic domain names like this are already taken, but there is a good chance the name of your business is available, and that’s what your customers will want.

Shorter Version of your Company’s Name – With a company like Barnes & Noble, customers often refer to it as BN. The company was smart and owns both BN.com and BarnesAndNoble.com.

Generic .com Domain Names are like Diamonds…

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Generic .com domain names are like diamonds. Sure you can buy a small or low quality diamond and your significant other with still love you, although she will know that you couldn’t afford better. You could also buy a synthetic or manufactured diamond that may pass for the real thing, and maybe she won’t notice (until she gets it appraised of course). However, if you want the most beautiful investment quality diamond, you need to spend the money and buy a beautiful, high-quality, real diamond.

With domain names, sure you can buy a low quality .com domain name with extra numerals, hyphens or other flaw, and people who know about your site will try to remember how to navigate there. You can also buy a non .com domain name such as .net or .info that may look good, but will certainly lose traffic to the better .com name. However, if you want to buy the most valuable, highest investment quality domain name, stick with generic .com names.

Working With CADNA

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I think there are reasons why people might want to consider supporting CADNA in their public goal of defeating cybersquatters and domain tasting/kiting. I believe most of the big organizations that support CADNA are simply trying to protect their brands/trademarks rather than go after generic domain names. Although Dell probably would kill for Computers.com or CustomComputers.com, they are more interested in making sure a typo name like DelComputer.com isn’t owned by someone other than them.

Dell (and similar companies) believe when a web surfer types that in to their browser, they are actually trying to get to Dell, so why should they have to pay to correct the error, and why should a cybersquatter be able to direct traffic to other computer companies when the person is looking for Dell and not someone else?

On their press release, CADNA stated, Cybersquatting is defined “as the bad-faith registration of a domain name that includes or is confusingly similar to someone else’s trademark.” This leads me to believe they want to protect trademark holders from obvious infringing domain names. As it stands at the present time, the domain tasting loophole basically allows people to register domain names for 5 days or less, and then they can drop these names. They are able to test the traffic, and they can make business decisions on which names to keep based on traffic, revenue, and of course the risk in owning it.

As of yet, trademark holders have been unable to act fast enough to respond to domain tasters, and that is where the problem is. I think there are significant hurdles that need to be overcome, as there is much grey area. For example, would Dell believe that a name like Del.com infringed on their trademark simply because the spelling was similar? I know that Dell owns Del.com, but what if they didn’t and the name were parked? There are many examples like this, and those would have to be overcome.

However, in the short run, I think it would be in our best interest to work alongside with CADNA, to ensure domain owner rights are kept in mind, while trying to stop people who blatantly trample on the rights of trademark holders using the domain tasting loophole.

DRT Auction – An Historic Event

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The Domain Roundtable Auction has ended, with the highest sales going to Invention.com, Rebate.com, AZ.com, Event.com, eTV.com and Army.org. Some could argue that a majority of the names in the auction were average (or below), reserve prices were set too high, or the auction took too long, but I believe this auction was a watershed moment in domain sales history. It wasn’t so much the names or prices of the sales (and non-sales) that were historic, but rather the auction platform itself.

To my knowledge, this was the first domain auction where there was a live Internet-based bidding tool along with a live video and audio feed. Users at home, numbering in the low thousands, were able to follow along with the auction and bid in real time. This stretched the reach of the auction from the few hundred in attendance to millions of potential bidders. The turnout wasn’t in the millions, but it was a good start.

I have always believed that live domain auctions should be simulcast over the Internet. After all, domain names are valuable Internet properties. Jay Westerdahl and his team at Domaintools deserve a huge amount of credit for being the pioneers in this endeavor. I suspect that other auction companies are going to have to follow suit or risk falling behind in the domain auction business.

With the high cost of domain conference attendance coupled with the expense of travel, attending live auctions can be a hardship on many domain investors. There are also many people who view domain investment as one small aspect of their investment portfolio, and others who buy domain names simply as a hobby. These passive domain investors aren’t likely to attend a domain conference, which was almost required in order to participate in past auctions (or pay a refundable fee to bid). When bidders don’t have to leave their offices or their couches, the domain auction process becomes more widely available to all, and it should bring strong results… and it was FREE to bid!

I will let others evaluate the auction for the names that were listed, the sales prices achieved, the length of time it took to get through 450 names, and everything else associated with the various aspects of the auction. For me, the highlight was the technical advances that were debuted today, and I certainly hope that this is the beginning of a new era in domain sales.

AZ.com – A Great Deal at $500,000

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In my post on August 7th, I identified what I thought were the top 5 values in the Domain Roundtable Auction. According to the live auction interface, it appears that AZ.com has at least one bid for the $500,000 minimum and will sell today. I think anything under $1,000,000 for this name is a great deal for the buyer.

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