Archive for January 2009
A big week for NameDrive as NDX Market finally comes out from under wraps – I’m not usually one to blow our collective trumpet (I am, really, as it’s my job), but it’s fantastic, we love it and really think that you will too. It’s undergoing beta testing by an intrepid team of, well, beta testers, but will be going live as soon as the final wrinkles are ironed out.
In other news, DomainFest was a great success – over 600 attendees! We had a great time and it was fantastic to see so many faces there. Meanwhile the industry continues to be argued about by various experts – as usual, it’s either stable, sinking inevitably, or in a period of growth. We’re optimistic though, because we know what our new system is going to bring to the table.
See you in the brand new Front Office, very soon!
Have a great weekend,
ND Weekly #75
NameDrive Launches Beta for NDX Market
NameDrive, known to most as a parking company, are announcing at DomainFest today that they are launching NDX Market – a service that will provide domainers with a fast, secure and powerful public marketplace for buying and selling domains. According to their own numbers included in the marketing material for the new product, NameDrive also is a big market player in private domain brokerage, selling 147,760 domains for a total of $5,782,830 USD in 2008.
The new service is intended to benefit three different sets of buyers:
First-Timers: NDX Market guarantees a smooth transaction of domains and funds while also having available NDX Market Brokers ready to assist at all times.
Professional Domainers: NDX Market updates exclusive inventory daily from several global sources and includes domain statistics whenever possible.
Portfolio Buyers: NDX Market will hold monthly domain portfolio auctions with excellent savings for high-volume buyers who purchase domains by the thousands.
Cybersquatting.. Sometimes I Just Don’t Get It…
Last week, my boss spent the evening in London with some prominent domainers – and by all accounts a good time was had by all.
The reach of domainers, domaining, direct navigation and the industry-at-large now seems to have reached a new level in the UK; for apparently, included at this get-together was an IP lawyer from Microsoft and an American journalist from CBS news. Not a great deal of relevance in that last sentence however, in the discussions that followed, the whole concept of domaining and the “value” (or lack of) it brings to the internet ecosystem as a whole were debated at length.
I was interested in this last point.
DOMAINfest Attendance Tops 600
Official attendance at DOMAINfest Global 2009 has topped 600, solidifying its position as the largest domain name industry conference. There are over 30 sponsors and 20 exhibitors.
Yesterday evening most conference goers headed out to Universal Studios for an exclusive event. They were treated to studio tours, dinner, and drinks. Even better, DOMAINfest reserved two of the rides exclusively for attendees (no waiting in line).
After returning from Universal Studios, at least a hundred people joined up for an impromptu gathering at the Renaissance Hollywood lobby bar.
Although many people are already looking past today’s events to the party at the Playboy Mansion tonight, today’s programming will be excellent. At 11 am Google will take the stage to talk about traffic quality and its view of the domain channel (check back for coverage later). Then the Moniker live domain auction kicks off after lunch, and at 5 pm Google and Yahoo representatives will be on hand to talk one-on-one with domainers.
Most Popular Domains at DOMAINfest Auction in Hollywood
Intermarketing reports that DOMAINfest Global 09 will occur in Hollywood, CA, beginning Tuesday, January 27, with discussion groups and talks by industry experts and tech mavens, including Steve Wozniak (as the keynote speaker). The official registry of the .me domains will release these high quality premium .me domains for the live auction on Thursday, January 29:
Another high quality .me domain, Refund.me, will be up for bidding during the live auction. This could be a great name, especially as tax season approaches.
Online advertisers hammered by “click fraud” in 2008: report
Click fraud surged to a new high in the final three months of 2008 as criminals had armies of hacked computers pretend to be customers checking out online ads, according to a report released Wednesday.
Click Forensics, a US firm that audits Internet traffic, reported that 17.1 percent of clicks on online advertising were frauds evidently intended solely to drive up bills for businesses paying “per click.”
The rate was a half of a percent higher than the one reported in the same quarter a year earlier.
Networks of hacked computers referred to as “botnets” are said to be responsible for nearly a third of the click fraud in final three months of 2008.
“It seems that the online advertising industry is not immune to the growing tide of cybercrime during this recessionary period,” said Click Forensics president Tom Cuthbert.
Shoring Up The Online Advertising Biz
The online advertising business is in for a rough patch, especially for display advertising. The signs are everywhere. Yahoo, the biggest publisher of display ads on the Web, reported a 2 percent decline in display ad revenues in the fourth quarter, and the New York Times is seeing even steeper declines.
There is just way too much advertising inventory out there, and Websites are actually trying to show less ads per page to reduce ad clutter and keep advertising rates from cratering. The chart above from comScore’s 2008 Digital Year in Review shows that the number of display ads served in the U.S. is actually slightly down from a year ago. Even so, comScore estimates that 4.5 trillion ads were served to U.S. consumers last year. That comes to 2,000 ads per month per person.
Google: We’re Committed to Domain Channel
In what can only be described as an awkward session, Google Adsense for Domains’ Hal Bailey discussed the future of the domain channel at DOMAINfest Global today in Los Angeles.
The good news for domainers is that Bailey said the company is committed to the domain channel and believes it adds value to domainers. Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) will not exit the domain channel “any time soon”, he said. He also said Google does not want to compete with domain parking companies and views them as a value-add.
“We value our partners,” Bailey said. “They provide value to us and they provide value to [domainers].”
In 2008, Google focused on traffic quality, and that will continue.
Time Warner to cut 10% of AOL workforce
US media-entertainment giant Time Warner will cut 10 percent of the workforce, or up to 700 jobs, from its AOL Internet unit to stem losses from a declining online advertisting market, reported Thursday the Financial Times.
“Online marketers have tightened their ad buying across the board, reducing their spend by hundreds of millions of dollars,” AOL chief executive Randy Falco wrote in an internal memo, said the newspaper.
According to Swiss bank UBS, AOL’s profits from online advertising are set to fall 12 percent in the fourth quarter, reported the Times.
“We will continue throughout the year to carefully and thoroughly review all our products and services to make sure every one fully supports our strategy and has the potential for growth,” said Falco in his memo, stressing the cuts mean consolidation for parts of the company, without specifying which.
Panel: Taking Domains Offshore is a False Hope
Tuesday afternoon at DOMAINfest Global in Los Angeles, a panel of lawyers suggested that moving domain names to offshore registrars or forming your domain company offshore may not be the panacea it seems. In fact, Derek Newman of Newman & Newman said you may actually be hurting yourself by setting up an offshore corporation to hold your domain names.
Newman said that companies — and often times judges — assume that you’re trying to hide something if you set your domain names up in an offshore company. This may also apply to moving your domains to an offshore domain registrar.
Other lawyers on the panel generally agreed. They said that just because your domain names are in an offshore company or at an offshore domain name registrar doesn’t mean you are outside of United States’ jurisdiction.
Thanks to the following sources:
NDX Market Beta Live!
All of us at NameDrive are very excited to reveal what we’ve been working on for the last months – NDX Market. We’ve made every effort to make sure that it’s all working properly but just to be sure we’re currently running a beta on it – we’re keeping it under wraps a little bit longer to test it with the able help of the DomainFest crowd, as well as a few stalwart individuals from elsewhere.
We are very proud of what we’ve come up with and think that this is going to make some big changes to the way you park, buy, and sell domains. We’ll keep you posted with updates and news – oh and while we were creating NDX Market, we also totally revamped our Front Office, to offer what we believe will be the best domain parking experience in the industry. Keep your eyes and ears open for more news soon!
Your NameDrive Team
Obviously a big week in politics (were there some by-elections or something?) but the domain industry seems unaffected as yet, continuing its inevitable decline/inexorable growth, depending on who you believe. Google seems to be doing well though which I’m sure will please all of you – in other news, we have our own Roe v. Wade in the form of the Kentucky court ruling.
Other than that, not a huge amount of news, so Mr Blogs is off to make some himself. See you all at DomainFest!
ND Weekly #74
Google sales jump 18%
Internet advertising behemoth Google continued to show strong sales and profit against a thorny economic backdrop. The Mountain View, Calif.-based company reported an 18% jump in fourth-quarter revenue to $5.7 billion for the period ended Dec. 31. That’s up from $4.83 billion in the year-earlier quarter. Excluding commissions paid to advertising partners, Google posted sales of $4.22 billion, better than the $4.12 billion in sales expected by analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.
Google reported fourth-quarter net income of $382 million, down 68% from $1.2 billion a year ago. However, excluding certain charges, such as the cost of employee stock options, the company earned $5.10 a share, much better than consensus estimates of $4.95 per share.
“We had tight control over costs” in the quarter, said Google chief executive Eric Schmidt in a conference call with analysts.
What Domainers Should (and Shouldn’t) Do Post Kentucky
Here are some things for domainers to consider now that the Kentucky case has been overturned.
The Kentucky Court of Appeals has overturned a trial court’s ruling that the state could seize domain names associated with online gambling. The Court of Appeals ruled that domain names weren’t “gambling devices”, which was part of the statute used to justify seizing the domains.
As Michael Berkens pointed out, this is a narrow victory. Electronic Frontier Foundation writes that the ruling suggests to the Kentucky legislature that it can change the definition of “gambling device”, but it still believes the case will be without merit because “In addition to this type of domain name seizure still raising serious First Amendment, due process, and other constitutional problems, Kentucky courts (as pointed out in our joint amicus brief) also lack the authority to directly order out-of-state registrars to turn over customer domain names.”
Internet Commerce Association Executive Director Resigns
Michael Collins, Executive Director of the Internet Commerce Association has announced his resignation from his post with the organisation in an email to members of the ICA.
In his email to members, Collins wrote he is leaving the organisation to develop some of his own domain names, a brick and mortar to Internet transition for an auto accessory business.
The ICA is a non-profit trade organisation representing domain name investors and developers and the direct search industry. ICA is made up of responsible businesses and individuals who have joined together to improve public confidence in internet commerce.
The email sent by Collins reads…
IAC’s Ask.com Acquires Domain Name Monetizer Sendori
Ask Sponsored Listings, a division of Ask.com(itself a subsidiary to IAC) has acquired Sendori, a startup that introduced interesting advertising exchange technology about two years ago that enabled advertisers to purchase direct navigation traffic generated by top tier domain names, bypassing PPC advertising providers like Google and Yahoo when it comes to monetizing parked domains.
Sendori developed the technology, dubbed PureLeads and patent-pending, to enable both search advertisers and domain owners to benefit from typed-in domain traffic based on the highest auction bids. With rates for PPC (Pay-per-click) dramatically dropping the past few months, Sendori was quickly becoming a nice alternative for domain name owners who traditionally looked no further than the usual suspects offering PPC advertising deals.
IDN Fast Track Process Update
ICANN recently proposed (for public comment) a Draft Implementation Plan for the introduction of Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) on a limited basis for ccTLDs. The Plan follows the recommendations of the ICANN’s policy making supporting organizations and advisory committees.
Since the recent closure of the first public comment period on the Draft Implementation Plan for the IDN ccTLD “Fast Track” Process, ICANN has been developing proposals for the next version of the draft Plan for community review and comment at the ICANN Mexico City Meeting (March 2009).
The public comment period opened on 23 October 2008, and was extended to January 7, 2009, to consider an updated version of the Draft Implementation Plan that was released on 26 November 2008, following the community collaborations during the ICANN meeting in Cairo, Egypt.
Circuit City, Linens ‘n Things, and the Domain Name Industry
It’s capitalism at its best. Circuit City is being liquidated after failing to find a buyer. Linens ‘n Things is finishing up the liquidation process (I wonder when they’ll sell the LNT.com domain?).
And that’s how it’s supposed to be. Weak companies fail, strong ones thrive. Thank goodness the government didn’t step in to bailout Circuit City. Best Buy (NYSE: BBY) offers a superior shopping experience. Even though it is facing hard times, it has knocked a competitor out and should reap the rewards. Will we see similar failures and consolidation in the domain industry this year? At last count there are about 20 well known domain parking companies…
Microsoft announces job cuts
Ballmer announced the job losses after an early financial report revealed below-expectation profits – but stated that “thousands” of jobs would be created in their place.
The credit crunch continues to hit some big names in the technology sector, with Microsoft announcing a drop in earnings bad enough to prompt 5,000 job losses.
As reported by CNN Money yesterday, Microsoft announced its earnings report for its second financial quarter ahead of schedule – and the news wasn’t good. Earnings per share were down at 47 cents, compared to 50 cents last year – analysts were hoping for at least 49 cents even in the current financial climates.
Internet into overdrive as millions express Obama hopes
The first US Internet president is an online sensation, triggering a tidal wave of Web traffic as he officially seized the nation’s reins.
Millions around the world commented, Twittered, posted and prayed as they watched Barack Obama’s inauguration live on the Internet, pinning their hopes on a new world order and era in American politics.
Akamai Technologies, which specializes in assuring that websites don’t crash under the weight of heavy online traffic, saw digital content streaming surge to record levels — more than two terabytes of data per second.
“Take a busy day for Akamai and double it, that is where you are,” said Akamai corporate communications director Jeff Young. “It was an immense online streaming day.”
Windows virus infects 9m computers
The number of Windows computers infected with the new “downadup” worm – also known as “Conficker” and “Kido” – has exploded to almost 9 million worldwide, from roughly 2.4m last Thursday, according to the computer security company F-Secure.
The growth in the number of infected machines – which the company’s researchers called “just amazing” – makes it one of the worst malware outbreaks of the past five years. The principal targets are corporate Windows servers belonging to small businesses who have not installed security updates released by Microsoft last October. F-Secure estimates that a third of all potentially vulnerable systems have not had the update.
Beware the “First Name” Domain Name Buyer
Michael over at Coin Network has received several domain inquiries lately with an interesting twist. The buyer says his or her first name is the domain name they want to buy. Here’s an example:
My name is Latroy Beneters and Im interested in buying your domain www.latroy.com Are you are interested in selling it? If you are, do you have any idea how much you want for it? If you don’t, let me know and I will make you an offer instead and we can take it from there.
Many thanks for your time,
Lest you think this may actually be a legitimate offer from a person named Latroy, Michael has received several similar e-mails. They all follow the same pattern, simply substituting a different name like this (my example; not one of Michael’s names)…
Thanks to the following sources:
Here’s hoping that 2009 has started with a bang for you. Mr Blogs’s did, as he strapped all his fireworks together into one mega-firework – the resultant shock-wave caused an unseasonal snow-storm in his native Tahiti, and killed two birds.
In other news, there has been news since the Blog was put on hold back in the distant past of 2008. The Microsoft/Yahoo deal, the Frankenstein’s monster of deals, lurches back into semi-life once again; January’s big event is of course DomainFest in LA – NameDrive will be attending in force and hopes to see you there too. Interesting but conflicting reports on the state of the industry continue to trickle in as well, and they are faithfully reproduced for your reading pleasure below.
Have a great weekend,
Nd Weekly – Word
ND Weekly #73
PubMatic: Remnant Ad Prices Are Half What They Were A Year Ago
Fourth quarter data is starting to trickle in on how bad the online advertising downturn is turning out to be. The latest data comes from Pubmatic, an online ad optimization service used by more than 5,000 sites large and small. PubMatic’s fourth quarter AdPrice Index, which I have obtained, shows the average rates paid to these sites for remnant display ad inventory (i.e., inventory they couldn’t sell themselves at a higher price).
In the fourth quarter of 2008, the average price for remnant ads across all sites was $0.26 per thousand impressions (CPM), down 48 percent from the fourth quarter of 2007 and a penny down from the third quarter. Normally, there is a huge jump between the third and fourth quarters because of the holiday season, so this is not a good sign.
Oversee.net Reduces Staff
Oversee.net, a Los Angeles-based Internet company, announced Thursday that it has laid off 38 employees – nearly a fifth of its workforce – in anticipation of what it says will be a difficult economic environment this year.
The cuts hit employees in Oversee’s offices in Los Angeles, Florida and Oregon. The company did not break out the layoffs for each office, but said the bulk occurred in Los Angeles where most of Oversee’s workforce is located. Oversee had previously cut 10 percent of its workforce in August.
President Jeff Kupietzky said most of the cuts occurred in new ventures and business units that had become less profitable, such as Web sites built around mortgages and ring tones. He said Oversee had started to see “weaknesses” in advertising but that its core business of buying and registering Internet domain names remained strong.
.FR tender published
French authorities have published the long-awaited (in France at least) tender for .FR. Incumbent registry AFNIC is widely expected to retain the position when the winner is announced, probably in April this year.
This is the final episode in a drawn-out saga that saw the French government launch a public consultation almost a year ago to ascertain how .FR should be run. That the government would even consider replacing AFNIC surprised many in France, especially as it has a cast iron majority on the AFNIC board, of which I have been an elected member since 2004.
Time limit for the tender has been set at 16:00 French time on March 8, 2009. During the first 25 days of the process, candidates will be able to send questions to the government. These, and the answers given to them, will be posted on the government’s website for public access.
Chinese squatter told to give up ICICI domain name
Following a complaint by ICICI Bank Ltd, the Delhi high court has directed a Chinese resident to
give up www.icicigroup.com, in an order that could set a precedent for cybersquatting regulation in India.
The order comes after a world body for regulating intellectual property rights rejected a complaint from India’s second largest bank. And while the Chinese entity has complied with the order, Indian experts question the enforceability of similar orders across geographical borders.
Cybersquatting is the act of registering website domain names of popular firms or brands and then selling them to the same firms or brands at exorbitant and often extortionate prices.
In December, justice Sanjiv Khanna passed an order restraining a resident of Beijing, Chuandong Xu, and a Chinese website registrar, HiChina Web Solutions Ltd, from using or selling the site Icicigroup.com.
The Google Squeeze: How Google’s Black Box Affects Partners’ Revenue
When Google offered a “direct to consumer” domain parking option last month, many cheered. “Finally, we can cut out the middleman!” they exclaimed. But others worried about potential downsides. Specifically, domain owners realized that they have little bargaining power with Google compared to parking companies that aggregate significant traffic.
To better understand how Google can squeeze its partners, it’s important to understand the deals Google has in place with partners such as DomainSponsor , NameMedia, and Sedo. These contracts are confidential. But thanks to NameMedia’s (since aborted) attempt to go public, we can peek inside a Google Adsense contract. Here are some things to note…
MAP Research Releases Groundbreaking Global Domain Registration Industry Report
Melbourne-based research company MAP Research has released the world’s first report on the size, state and future of the global domain registration industry.
MAP Research’s results show that by the end of 2008, the overall industry will have a market value of $3.6 billion (all figures in $US), forecast to increase to $5.3 billion by 2011.
According to the report, whilst the overall market size of the global domain industry is expected to increase over the next three years, growth will be at a slower rate than previous years and a drop in average revenue per domain is forecast.
Microsoft, Google, And Yahoo: One Doesn’t Belong
Yikes! Yahoo is bleeding advertisers. A lot of advertisers. Yahoo’s newly named CEO, Carol Bartz, will be tasked with pulling back the stick of a company in a steep nosedive.
As the most recent data shows, advertisers are just not into Yahoo anymore. At the same time, Google and Microsoft are grabbing a larger share of advertisers. As the article notes, this is advertiser share and not dollars; given the miserable state of the economy it’s likely that all three are making less money nowadays. But losing advertisers at a pace like Yahoo is doing makes it even harder to eke out revenue.
There is some data that points to Yahoo having a harder time during this recession (or whatever you’d like to call the economic malaise we’re in). Data from early in 2008 showed that Yahoo tended to attract lower-income users. Those users are already taking the worst of the economic downturn.
ParkingJudge: Rate and Review Domain Parking Companies
I’ve met one of my New Years Resolutions thanks to the launch of ParkingJudge, where you can rate and review domain parking companies. The site works just like RegistrarJudge.com, which now has nearly 200 reviews of domain name registrars.
Currently, there are very few quantified resources to figure out which domain parking services to use. There are forums, where people complain or pump up their favorite parking services, but you have to scroll through dozens of meaningless posts to get an idea if a parking company is good. Then there are some excellent review sites written by individuals, but they only give you one persons’ opinion.
With ParkingJudge, you’ll not only get to read qualitative comments, but also see quantified scores…
Bartz Eases Some Hurdles to Yahoo-Microsoft Deal
Yahoo Inc.’s appointment of Carol Bartz as chief executive removes several obstacles to a search deal with Microsoft Corp. But other hurdles have emerged and a deal is unlikely to be imminent, said people close to both companies.
Ms. Bartz said in a company-wide Yahoo meeting Wednesday that she plans to spend a lot of time investigating whether to sell Yahoo’s search business but that her “gut” was not to do that, according to people familiar with the meeting. She added that she had spoken casually with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer since accepting her new job, these people said. They added that she didn’t go into details of the conversation, which she said was informal.
Microsoft Bid to Beat Google Builds on a History of Misses
Now that Yahoo Inc. has named a new chief executive, Microsoft Corp.’s Chief Executive Steve Ballmer may finally be in a position to gain ground on Internet juggernaut Google Inc. — and to reverse one of his biggest mistakes.
Mr. Ballmer is expected in the coming months to renew his yearlong pursuit of a multibillion-dollar deal for Yahoo’s Web-search unit. But behind his push to capture a bigger piece of Google’s lucrative business lies an untold story: Nearly a decade ago, early in Mr. Ballmer’s tenure as CEO, Microsoft had its own inner Google and killed it.
In 2000, before Google married Web search with advertising, Microsoft had a rudimentary system that did the same, called Keywords, running on the Web. Advertisers began signing up. But Microsoft executives, in part fearing the company would cannibalize other revenue streams, shut it down after two months.
The Digital TV Switch
Will your television set fade to black next month? If it does, should you care — or instead celebrate an event that could usher in new and compelling developments for online advertising?
Congress has set February 17 as the date that broadcasters in the United States must switch from analog to digital signals. Viewers who aren’t cable or satellite subscribers (in other words, those still using rabbit ears), must either buy and install DTV converter boxes, or accept the fact that their sets will be consigned to the dustbin of technology history.
Millions of TVs aren’t yet ready to jump the digital divide. In the middle of the deepest recession of most American’s lifetimes, shelling out extra money for the box isn’t a priority or even a possibility for many right now.
Top Five Reasons Why YOU Should Attend DOMAINfest Global
Many great minds will be attending DOMAINfest Global 2009 to share insights, identify emerging trends, and discuss the changing business practices needed to be successful. If that isn’t enough to convince you to attend, here are five more top reasons:
1.Unmatched networking opportunities.
2.Deals happen here, make no mistake about it.
3.Visit with leading vendors and service providers.
4.The Moniker Live Auction will provide a great chance to buy, sell, and gauge the value of your own domains.
5.The DomainSponsor party will rock your world.
DOMAINfest Global also offers tons of value at an affordable price. And if you are a DomainSponsor client, you might be eligible to qualify for a full registration fee rebate if you meet certain revenue requirements and register for DOMAINfest Global before January 1, 2009. See details on how to qualify for this rebate on the Registration page.
Thanks to the following sources: