Why I Didn’t Bid on .CM Domains

The first day of the .CM auctions on Namejet closed yesterday, and the auction cleared $500,000. I was not surprised by this number, but I am surprised about how many people seem to be bidding on .CM domain names. My company did not bid on a single .cm domain auction, despite the perceived need to protect a few of my brands.

There is one overarching reason why I did not bid on the auctions. For the past couple of years, Kevin Ham’s company Reinvent Technology has controlled the traffic for .CM domain names via wildcarding after striking a deal with the Cameroonian government. While the domain names were unregistered for the most part, they forwarded to parking pages where visitors could click to other sites, earning money for the company.

With one entity controlling many of the domain names that are now up for auction, it wouldn’t make sense for me to bid on them, as the deck would be stacked against me. If a particular domain name generates revenue from significant traffic, I would imagine Kevin’s company could bid on it up to its value based on a revenue multiple. It wouldn’t really make sense to bid more than the person who has all of the analytics and would presumably be able to monetize it better than almost anyone.

The argument could be made that the traffic is more valuable for lead gen than PPC. However, I am sure Reinvent did what they could to monetize it as best as possible. Additionally, around 20% of the traffic to my brands with the most type in traffic (my blog not included) comes from type-ins. If just a tiny amount of the traffic was lost due to typing in .CM, it’s probably a very small number, and not even worth the annual renewal fee.

They have some of the smartest people working at the company, and I wouldn’t want to bid against them when they know much more than me. It’s sort of like playing poker when your opponent caught a glimpse of your cards.

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. Elliot,

    Nail, Head, Hit.

    I did a few hours research on what would be great domains to own in .CM based on traffic estimates, alexa ranks, and some typos I already own. I applied for exactly Four CM domains that I thought would be worth the price – I tried at both NJ and Moniker. All four were “rejected” by the registry at both sponsors. That told me that what I learned about CM traffic and what CM knew about traffic were the same.

    Anything that is worth a the rent isn’t being sold. Those buying are just big pockets who will sell to someone else.

  2. I think these .cm domains are a crock of S@$!. I would expect more people to mistype on the left side of the dot. I think everyone who bid just got one pulled over on them and will soon find out through both litigation and realization that their domains are worthless.

  3. damn, wish I’d have read this post a few days ago. Having a small dose of buyers regret now I’ve found out the registration fee is gonna be a little steeper than i thought.

    Good chance there will be a load of (eventually) very happy losing (2nd highest) bidders.

  4. Hat’s off to Kevin, we could all see the chaching years ago when he closed it with the Cameroons.. Amazing maneuver!

    Looking forward to the traffic reports, if anyone dares tell 🙂

  5. I don’t know if they are bidding or not, but it’s just my feeling that I don’t want to bid on names where I would really have no idea about traffic numbers but someone else might.

  6. Has anyone got any statistics for the .cm type in error.(1/100,000 or 1/1,000,000 type ins?) As someone that notices errors in type ins in the address bar I can never say that I ever remember making that particular error .

    The upside for the purchaser is that the traffic will look good for awhile after registration until the hysteria dies down and curious domainers stop typing in .cm domains to see if they are available. But the conversion will be poor to non existant.

  7. Well, someone’s going to loose money over this one and it’s not Kevin that’s for sure. I was going to say “fair play” but is it?

    I would love to see stats on some of these purchased .CM’s though, from the look of things probably everyone in the industry..

  8. THe registration fee for a .cm over $100 USD? Too steep a price for domaineering which is the web-based marketing business of acquiring and monetizing Internet domain names focusing on their use specifically as an advertising medium.

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