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Be Cautious and Vigilant with your Domain Names

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Back in April, I received a phone call from a person with Sendori asking me about an application made using my domain names. The submitted email address was different than my Whois email address, and they wanted to verify the application. I thought it might have been made by a web developer working on my behalf since I never heard of the company before the phone call, but it turns out a scammer had applied for an account using my domain names and reputation.

For a couple of weeks in April, I put 5 domain names in my DNForum signature, and I had one new registration listed for sale in the offers section. Someone used those 6 domain names to apply for at least one parking company account (ParkingPanel.com) in addition to an account at Sendori. Perhaps they applied to other companies, but these were the two that contacted me due to the difference in the application email and my Whois email. The purpose of doing this, as I later found out, was to generate click fraud. The scammer somehow masked traffic and clicks to generate revenue. I am not good with the technical aspect of domain management, but apparently traffic looked like it was coming from these domain names even though the DNS was set elsewhere.

When ParkingPanel caught on, they immediately called me and told me what occurred. The account manager heard of me on one of the forums and knew I wouldn

PPC Impact of LowerMyBills Lowering Its Ad Bill

LowerMyBills Lowers Its Ad Bill

People have been speculating about what impact the struggling mortgage market will have on PPC advertising, a source of revenue for many domain owners. New York Times blogger Brad Stone blogs about how Experian’sLowerMyBills.com has reduced its web advertising in light of the recent mortgage crunch.

While LowerMyBills.com is a big internet advertiser, I don’t believe there will be a major impact on PPC revenue. While the mortgage market is under pressure due to subprime mortgage borrowers defaulting on their loans, other types of mortgages are still in high demand. I believe other advertisers will fill the void, competing for the lower risk (and higher value) mortgages in the form of keyword bidding. I don’t own many high performance mortgage domain names, but it would be interesting to see if there has been an impact on revenue.

Hijacking Domain Names for $200

Sahar shows us why it is of utmost importance to protect your email accounts in his blog entry, “Hijack A Domain For 200$.” Apparently there is a website out there that can says it can get any email account password if you pay them $200. To prevent your domain names from being hijacked, Sahar recommends:

“to have your domain either on your own registrar or with one of the top registrars for professional domainers such as Moniker.com or Fabulous.com, and ask them for personal attention for any sort of transfer away of your domains from their registrars.”


I don’t know whether domain hijacking is happening more often or if it’s just becoming more publicized, but I have heard quite a bit about this lately. In fact, I received a poorly written email from an unknown person about a good name that was for sale. I checked and the name was registered to a company of the same name, so it seemed odd that it was for sale. I did a whois check, same info for the past 8+ years; However, the day before, the email address changed to a Hotmail account with all other info the same. I called Network Solutions in addition to the owner to warn her and left a voicemail. The next day, I received a thank you email as another domain investor also called and spoke with her, detailing what he thought happened. Because of quick thinking, we were able to save a nice lady from losing her name.

Here are some tips I would like to add to help prevent you from buying a stolen domain name:

1.) Do a Whois history check
-Did anything recently change?
-Does something seem strange in the Whois history like a different email address just added?
-Length of domain name ownership is a good way to tell if someone has all rights to the name

2.) Call the listed owner
-If the email address just changed, the owner will tell you the name isn’t for sale
-Conversation is frequently avoided by scammers

3.) Call/email the former owner
-They will tell you if they sold it (or if it was stolen)

4.) Search the forums/Google for any information that may raise red flags
-Stolen domain name posts
-Spam references on Google

5.) Do a WIPO/UDRP search
-May not be a anti-theft tool, but just make sure the history is clean

6.) Always pay with Escrow
Escrow.com, Sedo, Moniker or Afternic offer this service

7.) Never pay with money order or cashier’s check
-Difficult to track
-Many scams involve counterfeit checks/money orders

8.) Only buy from the listed registrant
-Don’t attempt to buy from the technical contact if it’s different from the registrant
-Technical contact doesn’t necessarily own the name, but may just manage the domain name

9.) TRUST YOUR GUT!
-If an offer is too good to be true, it probably is
-If the terms the seller is requesting seem strange, question them

LI.com Sold for a Half Million Dollars

As I wrote on my blog a couple of weeks ago, it appears that the owner of LI.com has decided to sell the name for $500,000. This comes on the heels of AZ.com selling for $500,000 at the DRT auction last week. Personally, I believe both names were undervalued, but I am sure it would be difficult for anyone to turn down a half million dollar offer.

ESPN acquires Scrum.com

ESPN acquires Scrum.com
ESPN announced that it acquired a Rugby news site, Scrum.com, which attracts half a million visitors a month during the peak season. With this acquisition, ESPN has again reached out to attract a foreign audience of sports fans loyal to a particular website. Previously, ESPN acquired Cricinfo.com, a popular cricket website, and they manage ESPNSoccernet.com, a multi-language soccer website.I wouldn’t expect to see major changes to the Scrum.com now that it is owned by ESPN. The website became popular due to its unique content and perspective, and I doubt ESPN would want to mess with the format. I expect that they will integrate some of their content and add links to their own site as well as Scrum.com to encourage viewers to add ESPN to their daily “must read” list. This will help lengthen the amount of time users stay on the website, which is a good way to increase advertisers’ value and ultimately spend.

Registering New Domains – Discovering Gems

I have frequently seen people lamenting that “all of the good domain names are taken.” I think this defeatist talk is far from the truth. Yes, just about all of today’s relevant one word (and most two word) domain names are taken. However, there are still some targeted, high paying keyword .com names that have never been registered before, and they are just waiting for you to buy them. These domain names are hidden gems just waiting to be found.

A few months ago, I was reading about subprime credit and mortgage issues. I did some searching, and I registered SubprimeHomeMortgages.com. Just a couple of weeks ago, I sold it for over a hundred times my investment. Some people thought I might have sold it for less than full value, but why be greedy? Registering new domain names is as easy as keeping up on the news and following trends. Many people I know in the business enjoy the thrill of hunting for great unregistered domain names as much as buying 6 figure names.

A couple pieces of advice on registering new domain names:
1) NEVER register names with trademarks. If the company wanted it, they would have bought it. Also, if there was traffic, unfortunately a tasting company would probably have bought it already. You are just looking for trouble.

2) Always read various newspapers, blogs, industry journals…etc. Domain registration is about speculation. I saw that there is new insulin technology, so I bought DisposableInsulinPump(s).com. Domain names cost $7 – you have much better odds than the casino!

If you are a person who thinks all the good names are registered, here are a few that I just registered last night:
TruckDrivingInsurance.com
CheapToiletries.com
NewYorkInsurer.com
NewYorkInsurers.com
PeepShowBooth.com
PeepShowBooths.com

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