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Businessweek: Pitbull Looking at Domainer Merlin Kauffman $7.5 Million Bitcoin Fund

July 18th, 2014 Comments off

Bloomberg/Businessweek.comm, just published a piece on the hip-hop artist known as Pitbull,  one of our South Florida celebs and his business ventures outside of the music world.

According to the article  Pitbull’s attorney is trying to get his client Pitbull to possibly invest in Bitcoin and are looking forward to a meeting none other than Merlin Kaufman, who in addition to being a world-class domain investor is running a Bitcoin Fund:

“Zigel slides over a stack of articles about Bitcoin and mentions a possible sitdown with Merlin Kauffman, who runs a $7.5 million Bitcoin investment fund focused on the hardware that runs the currency.

Pitbull flips through the pages quickly, not displaying much interest.

“I still want to know, what exactly is Bitcoin?” Pitbull says. “How real is it? Is it going to be adopted and be disruptive?”

“The people who are going to adopt it are young,” Zigel replies. “If it’s something they decide they want to do, it’s going to be a force to be reckoned with.”

“What makes this real money?”

Zigel, looking unsure, glances quickly at the articles Pitbull has shoved back toward him. “It’s very speculative right now,” he says. “There’s nothing that’s holding it together.”

Pitbull is dubious. “No gold, no nothing?”

“No banks behind it, no.”

There are many people into the Bitcoin thing, as investors, miners, traders, market makers and otherwise

Many of them have ties to the domain community,  which is why you see  number or articles about Bitcoin and other crypto currencies on TheDomains.com

Of all the Bitcoin movers an shakers out there its pretty amazing that Pitbull’s attorney names someone in the domain community on the first page of the five-page story.

You can read it all here.

Did Lebron James Lease or Buy Lebron.com? After 6 Years Domain Points To LebronJames.com

July 18th, 2014 Comments off

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CBSNews.com published a blog post about a week ago about a domain investor who owns Lebron.com since 2008.

The story,  which in a very positive light,  chatted about a domain investor, Patrick Nagle. whom they described as a “Tech-savvy Maryland businessman”.

“As millions of basketball fans search online for news of what team free agent LeBron James will be playing for next, Mr. Nagle has found a way to benefit.

Type in LeBronJames.com and you go to James’s official Web site. But type in lebron.com and you’ll end up wherever Nagle directs you. Nagle bought the domain name lebron.com back in 2008.”

“Now he has taken all of the Web traffic looking for basketball news at Lebron.com and directed it to Nagle’s own personal LinkedIn profile instead.”

In an email to CBS News today, Nagle says, “I’ve been buying and selling Internet business for the past 15 years (since I was 16). I stumbled across Lebron.com when I co-founded OurSpace.com in 2008, an Urban Social Network, (later acquired by News Corp). I thought lebron.com was a great domain, so I bought it.”

Now about a week after CBS News published the story the domain name Lebron.com is forwarding for the first time since 2008 to Lebron James Official site LebronJames.com

The whois record has not changed so we don’t know if there is a lease and/or sale in the works, or maybe Mr. Nagle responded to a C & D letter based on the story.

We don’t have the answer yet but the timing of the forwarding of the domain to Mr. James official site on the heels of the story would seem to indicate something is in the works.

As for Mr. Nagle he seems to be another one of those people who has been in the domain investment space for a very long time but isn’t a well know figure in the community but appears to be making some big money from domaining.

The article goes on to quote Mr. Nagle to say:

“I recently re-sold MarijuanaMD.com in less than week for mid six-figures after acquiring it for $800.

I don’t know what Lebron.com is worth — but I do know it is a quality generic name.”

Nagle says he owns or runs around 3,000 domains and web properties, but has “stopped buying and selling to focus on a new business.”

.XYZ Debuts on RegstrarStats.com As The 8th Most Registered Top Level Domain Extension

July 13th, 2014 Comments off

 

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.XYZ has become the 8th most registered Top Level Domain according to RegistrarStats.com.

.XYZ domain registrations are only surpassed by .Com, .Net, .Org, .Info, .Biz, .US and .Mobi (actually .US is a ccTLD not a TLD)

This is the first day I have seen .XYZ stats picked up by RegistrarStats.com which shows .XYZ picking up over 4,000 registrations and the only one of the now top 8 to pick up net registrations (of course .XYZ does not have deletions yet)

Years before there was ntldstats.com, and namestat.org, which have popped up this year to track stats on the new gTLD’s,  RegistrarStats.com was the go to source for to find stats on domain name registrations across TLD registries and registrars.

While the two newer services are free, RegistrarStats.com is subscription based and you have to be approved to spent the money and get access.

Also unlike the two newer services RegistrarStats.com tracks stats not just on the new gTLD’s but on all incumbent strings like .Com, .Net and .Org and although it generally does not track country code extensions (ccTLD’s) but does include .US.

Since launching just a few months ago, .XYZ has passed .Asia, .Name, .Tel, .Pro, .XXX to name a few.

While most will still point to the Network Solutions fee domain giveaway to account for .XYZ success, I haven’t seen the number move on the NetSol side for many days and the percentage of .XYZ registrations was a high as over 86% coming from NetSol is now sitting at 77%.

According to ntldstats.com, which is updated sometimes twice a day, .XYZ tops 300,000 registrations at the moment at 301,627.

RegistrarStats.com is updated once a day.

 

Founder of Mt. Gox To Sell BitCoins.com In HA.com Domain Auction On July 24th

July 8th, 2014 Comments off

The URL Bitcoins.com will hit the auction block on July 24, 2014, as Part of Heritage Auctions’ Domain Names & Intellectual Property Auction.

The domain name is being sold by Mark Karpeles, the controversial founder of the failed Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox, and is expected to bring more than $750,000.

“We are hoping, with the sale of Bitcoins.com, to provide some relief to the people impacted by the Mt. Gox bankruptcy,” said Karpeles, “and will be putting at least half of the sale amount toward that purpose.”

“Bitcoins.com is absolutely the best remaining, and available name for this new market,” said Aron Meystedt, Founder and Director of the Domain Names & Intellectual Property category at Heritage Auctions. “Bitcoin.com, the singular version, is owned and used by Blockchain.info, the world’s most popular bitcoin wallet, and Bitcoinwallet.com itself is also already tied up. For the right investor this is a golden opportunity.”

The bitcoin payment system, an open payment network aimed at eliminating currency exchange fees and removing the need for intermediary banks, was created in 2009. It is mostly in the last 12 months, however, that it has gained mainstream notoriety, largely with the failure of Mt.Gox.com and the seizure of the nebulous Silk Road website, along with the subsequent liquidation of its Bitcoin assets. Bitcoins (plural) are the actual unit of exchange that has monetary value.

“The current market capitalization of all bitcoins in circulation is between $7 billion and $8 billion,” said Meystedt. “Daily, there are millions of dollars in transactions in Bitcoins. This auction offers the opportunity to capitalize on one of the most significant developments since the inception of the Internet.”

Bitcoins.com is being offered in the July 24, 2014 auction alongside more than 90 other premium domain names, including:

OklahomaCity.com

DEC.com (the fifth oldest domain name on the Internet, circa 1985),

Rides.com,

SEM.com

Digital.com

Cute.com

SouthernCalifornia.com

Co.Com Enters “General Availability” Phase At Noon EST Today!

July 8th, 2014 Comments off

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According to a Press Release we just received the Co.Com registry will enter the live General Availability (GA) registration phase today, Tuesday, July 8th at 16:00 GMT (12 noon EDT).

The .Co.Com registry previously announced it was removing tens of thousands of its premium domain names on their reserved list and allowing Landrush registrations which would presumably carry over to GA (except for those taken in Sunrise and Landrush)

Here is the rest of the press release:

“As we look ahead with great anticipation, it is also a good time to reflect on the past few months. Our Landrush registrations were strong. It’s a very competitive market with an increasing number of choices. In this environment, despite our pricing being much higher than many of the new gTLDs, total registrations are now in the single-digit thousands, without deep discounting, give-aways or gimmicks.”

“.Co.Com is getting the greatest uptake in the 218 countries where third level names are commonplace (UK, Australia, South Africa, Brazil, Korea, Japan, etc.). Registrants have been able to get the keyword names they’ve wanted, but have long gone in .com or their respective ccTLD.

Some registrants in those countries also realize that a .co.com domain will rank better in global search than a ccTLD (all else being equal).  As most of our readers know, ccTLDs rarely rank high in search engines when searches come from someplace other than a company’s home country.

Registants are also finding that .co.com, unlike new gTLDs, often come with existing traffic they can monetize. That can either be a boost to their existing traffic, or get their new site off to a running start. Traffic is something you typically do not get when registering a new gTLD or a third choice .com or ccTLD.

Having said that, the biggest factor influencing registrants is that .co.com ends in the familiar and popular .com extension. There are still 30 million+ .com ads every year and most of them are hyphenated multi-word, third or fourth choice domains.  The .co.com extension provides a chance for companies to get the short memorable keywords that are long gone in .com, and .co, and ccTLDs for that matter.

We’ve been suggesting that registrars show a .co.com in search results when the .com is not available, and there is no strong signal for a new gTLD. Registrars who are doing this are seeing excellent conversion rates, even at the higher Landrush pricing. We’re looking forward to seeing the results when lower General Availability pricing takes effect today.

Most importantly, we are very encouraged to see websites going live.   Here are some of the sites that have chosen to brand themselves with a short memorable .co.com domain.

http://www.quingo.co.com

Explore the work of artist Ben Walker

http://aska.co.com

Geneva-based ASKA provides moving services for valuable assets (“Vauling”)

http://GlobalEnglish.co.com

Hola! Lear English via Skype
http://programmer.co.com

Largest professional suppliers of DAF used commercial vehicles in the UK

New sites appear every day. We’ve been posting and tweeting about them, and will begin featuring them on this website as well. If you see a .co.com “in the wild” please let us know!

Thank you again to those who have registered a .co.com during our Landrush Phase, and to those in the domain name industry who have been so supportive.

A special thanks goes to our registrar distribution channel for all their excellent work to promote .co.com during a very busy time for them.

More registrars are going live today, with others to follow. We now look forward to continuing our journey with you as we grow the .co.com community.

 

Will This Domain Portfolio Owned By The Castello’s Be The 1st To Sell For Over $1 Billion?

July 7th, 2014 Comments off

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Last week I received a tweet to @thedomains, asking the question:

“Is any domain name portfolio worth over $1 Billion Dollars?

We are about to find out.”

The link in the Tweet goes to this site, which says:

“The portfolio consists of 40 hyper names (and hundreds of others) that will ensure a substantial and immediate impact on the Internet if they are paired with the right global resource.

The seller’s preference is to keep the portfolio intact.

It is his belief that the whole is substantially more significant than the sum of the parts.”

I was initially concerned whether the company sending the Tweet out was really representing Castello Cities Internet Network, Inc (CCIN) as I never heard of the broker.

CCIN is the owner of the domain names linked to the Tweet, so I contacted Michael Castello CEO and President of Castello Cities Internet Network, Inc., who confirmed the domain portfolio was for sale but there were 41 primary domains not 40.

Michael agreed to answer some questions:

1.   Michael Why did CCIN put this portfolio up for sale now ? Does it have anything to do with the roll out of the new gTLD program ?

“”I have been entertaining the idea since the beginning of 2014.

Back in 1994 I told my mother that our family is on a twenty-year adventure. I always look for indicators that something will occur in the future.

Whisky.com received one offer back in 1995 for $100.

The next offer (and sale) of $3.1 million was nineteen years later. There was no talk from the buyer in regards to its traffic or revenue. It was a domain name only acquisition.

At the same time, my partner and brother David had already put 15 years into our business, and he wanted to get back into the music industry, which is where we started. I can’t blame him. If you love performing on stage, creating music, and traveling, then that is what you should do. Success can be determined in many ways. When someone is able to do what they want to do, whenever they want to, I would call that success. I love what I do on the Internet, but there is a point when one needs to look at current events and decide if a change is in order.

I feel that it is a good time to see if I can maximize the potential of our portfolio. I realized that I cannot plausibly put the kind of time and effort into each of these 41 names that is required.

The Internet has changed so much over the last ten years. No longer can someone create a five-page website on a name like Tijuana.com and make thousands of dollars doing virtually nothing. If I spent the kind of effort that Tijuana.com deserves, I could easily make tons of money right now. But the public expects a richer experience than what a static info-site can provide. Now multiply that by 41 hyper names. It would be impossible for me to do so.

I now believe that the potential of what I built back in 1995 may be better realized by another enterprise. It makes sense for me to sell the portfolio and give David his share, and give the government its share. This allows me to simplify my situation, giving me more freedom to do what I want to do for the next 20 year adventure.

Of course, I will remain in the domain business; there is no better market to create wealth and financial freedom, and the future of civilization requires a functioning virtual world that continually grows in vastly new technological directions.

I was very happy to see Whisky.com move to a company that now has huge global reach. Imagine what the right party could do with Room.com or Bullion.com? Look at them in their current form and realize that their true potential would be a game-changer for any company with the right resources.

The new gTLDs are a part of the advancing name economy. There is a hierarchy in our market, and they have a place, but .com will always be the star of the DNS. That place will continue to grow as the public continues to use the Internet as an environment that they can dwell in, instead of as an app or tool to search for things.

Domain names are addresses for people to find each other. Some of those addresses already exist as common phrases in our minds, like Daycare.com, Nashville.com and Golfclub.com. In such cases, those names are already worth a lot, with great leverage and a worldwide trust factor.

I go to great lengths to allow myself the time and money to do what I want to do. For twenty years, I’ve had great personal freedom, and I have my portfolio to thank for that.””

2. Can you list the 41 primary domain names for me that are for sale in this portfolio?

Currently I am selling 41 hyper and generic domain names.

I have around 1,000 more that could be acquired for extra.

Here are the 41:

ACAPULCO.COM

ADOPT.COM

BOOTLEG.COM

BULLION.COM

COST.COM

CAUTION.COM

DAYCARE.COM

DUST.COM

EEL.COM

GOLFCLUB.COM

GRAPE.COM

GREATGATSBY.COM

HARLEM.COM

HEARTACHE.COM

KENNEL.COM

KINGTUT.COM

ISLANDERS.COM

MANICURE.COM

MOOREA.COM

NASHVILLE.COM

NOVEMBER.COM

PALMSPRINGS.COM

PETALUMA.COM

PREACH.COM

RATE.COM

ROOM.COM

SAMPLE.COM

SEASONS.COM

SMOOTHIE.COM

STEW.COM

SUIT.COM

SUNTAN.COM

TGIF.COM

TIJUANA.COM

TOOTH.COM

TRAVELER.COM

VIRTUE.COM

WAGON.COM

WASH.COM

WEDNESDAY.COM

WESTPALMBEACH.COM

3. What is the asking price?

$1.2 Billion Dollars.

4. Why did you decide to sell these domains as a portfolio rather than separately?

“My gut feeling tells me that there are a few people in the world who both understand what my portfolio really contains and can afford it.

It was built at a time when whatever my passions were, became my domain name to own. Anyone can piece together a portfolio of names, but arguably none have the passion of creation that mine has.”

5. Does that mean at this point you will not entertain offers on any one domain in the list?

“”I’ve had some pretty good offers that I’ve turned down on some of them after the Whisky.com sale. That sale was a statement of timing.

The rest are like The Crown Jewels to me. It would be like taking a butter knife and plucking a beautiful gemstone from the royal crown.

No – they stay together.

I will hold at this price until the end of 2014 to sell.

After that I will be asking for more.””

6.  At over $1 Billion I would assume its going to have to be a public company who would buy this portfolio, do you agree? Who has over $1 Billion in cash that might be a buyer?

“I feel that there will be an individual who sees what I see. ”

They might be the head of a large company, or someone with a lot of influence. There are people who have made vast amounts of money in the past five years. Many are not in the US, but rather Asia and the Middle East. But that money is scared money, and they are unsure of the best market for them to invest in.

Investing in my portfolio will allow any company with money and resources to be a major player in a multitude of verticals such as Manicure.com for beauty; Nashville.com for country music; Daycare.com for family; Bullion.com for financial; Traveler.com for travel; and Adopt.com for charity, just to name a few.

I would liken it to having the ability to be Rockefeller, Carnegie, Chase, Ford, and Vanderbilt all at the same time.

Those leaders carved out their industries over their lifetimes, always wanting to capture the other markets. They were very competitive.

Never before has anyone had that kind of global opportunity to dominate across such vast marketplaces. The Internet allows it, and my portfolio is a free and clear path to the future.””

7. Who is behind junxtion.com and why did you choice them as your broker?

“I did not expect this to go public.

I gave an opportunity to a friend to make some money, and he tweeted the portfolio out.

I have a small pool of friends who I offered to broker my portfolio.

It was never exclusive.

This release gives me a chance to say publicly what I have been saying over the past three months to industry friends at conventions. They had the same questions you are asking, and I think I should qualify my reasoning.””

8. If someone is interested in the portfolio, whom should they contact?

michael@ccin.com

Thanks Michael and best of luck

 

I should note the 41 domain names priced at $1.2 Billion dollars,  comes to $30 Million Dollars on average, per domain name.

 

Here are a few other stories about or written by Michael Castello:

Read about Michael’s Call To Action effort

Read about the sale of Whisky.com

Read about the Michael’s Block The Bullies effort

Read Michael’s post The Future is about Leverage

 

Who is the greatest domain investor of all time ?

July 6th, 2014 Comments off

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There have been many fortunes made and a few lost in the domain world over the last 20 years or so, some were there early and some made a big splash when most thought it was too late to do so. There have been successful domainers from every continent on earth, except maybe for Antarctica.

So this post is for you to decide, from Schwartz to Schilling, Ham to Day, Mann to Ye, who is the greatest domain investor in your opinion and why ?

Please only post one, you may think of different people for the same honor using different criteria, “So and so would be #1 if we were talking best portfolio but someone else would be for most sales, etc…”

Use all the criteria you like to come to one choice.

Categories: Domain Industry, External Articles Tags:

The 1st Installment of Things You Can’t Believe People Did This Week In The Domain World

July 5th, 2014 Comments off

I spotted a few hard to believe things that happened in the domain world this week and I thought I would put them into one post.

I’m thinking about making this a regular weekend feature as there is typically no shortage of incredibly hard to understand things that happen every week in the domain space.

Let me know what you think.

On second thought you always do

Someone actually registered the domain name dddddddddddddddddddddfsd.fish

The domain extension .Fish just launched this week and according to ntldstats.com, only 725 have been registered including this gem.

Honorable mention also goes to these two domains also registered in the .Fish Extension:

ssssssssssssssssssdsdsdsfsfs.fish.

sssssssssssssssssssssssssssssd.fish.

One .Fish domain that wasn’t taken and is actually still available as of publication is Sword.Fish arguably the best possible .Fish domain, (Tuna.fish is NA) but it does carry a registration and renewal price at Godaddy of $1,050 per year.

I just went ahead and registered thesword.fish for $28

.Vision another new domain extension that launched this week has less than 1,000 registrations but one registration caught my eye (pun intended):

ssssssssssssss.vision

In case your wondering not all four domains (the three .fish and the one .vision were not registered at the same registrar)

On a completely different note some trademark holders spent a lot of money this week to file UDRP on what I would consider pretty stupid and worthless domains.

Philip Morris filed a UDRP on the domain name buying-tax-free-marlboro-cigarettes.com which is going to a simple parked page which doesn’t even have that many links to Cigs.  I’m sure I can find 100 much worse infringing domains on Marlboro if you give me an hour.

Harley Davidson filed a UDRP on the domain name harley-davidson-jewellry.com this week and already got the domain transferred to it but not only does the domain have two hyphens in it but the word Jewelry is misspelled and we can assume gets probably zero visitors a year.

On the other hand the domain name harley-davidson-jewelry.com, correctly spelled, is registered under privacy at Godaddy, not by the trademark holder and is 7 years old.

Finally the Compagnie Générale des Etablissements Michelin (Michelin) filed a UDRP on this totally worthless domain:

michelin-guide-in-hokkaido.info

The domain name doesn’t even resolve.

Between filing and legal fees figure a UDRP costs somewhere around $2,500 to file.

Categories: Domain Industry, External Articles Tags:

Google Adult Ad Ban Now In Effect

July 3rd, 2014 Comments off

CNBC is reporting that the Google Advertising Ban on Adult domain names is now in effect.

We reported earlier this month that Google was going to impose new restrictions on adult advertising, which some believed amounted almost to a ban on advertising.

Today CNBC is reporting that “Google is getting out of the porn advertising business”.

The changes, which went into effect late Monday, prohibit any promotion of most sexually themed sites, specifically those that feature “graphic sexual acts with intent to arouse including sex acts such as masturbation.”

A company spokesperson noted that Google has long had restrictive policies on its adult category for some time and expected many advertisers had already looked to other advertising venues. ”

I haven’t heard much about this in any industry blogs or from parking companies.

We will be watching some of our own domain names and see what the effect of this is.

 

PIR Names Ex-Verisign VP Dave Stewart VP Of Sales And Marketing For .Org/.Ngo/.Ong

July 1st, 2014 Comments off

Public Interest Registry (PIR), the not-for-profit operator of the .org, named former Verisign VP, Dave Stewart As Vice President Of Sales And Marketing Industry for .org and .ngo, .ong

Most recently, Mr. Stewart served as vice president for strategic partnerships at Verisign where he was responsible for account management, channel marketing and business development. During his 10 years at Verisign, he helped champion the .com and .net brands across a global distribution channel of over 900 partners with 100,000-plus resellers, generating over $900 million in revenue

With extensive experience in global technologies and the domain name industry, Mr. Stewart will work alongside CEO Brian Cute on Public Interest Registry’s marketing, sales, product and strategy functions, helping the organization expand its international presence as well as grow market share for the .org and upcoming .ngo and .ong domains. He will join the organization on July 14, 2014.

Brian Cute, CEO of Public Interest Registry is quoted as saying:

“Dave was selected as the result of a careful search process – one that focused on not only finding someone with the requisite industry skills and mission-focus which stands at the heart of Public Interest Registry, but also on finding a leader who will enhance our ‘team-first’ culture. Dave embodies all of those qualities and more. He is joining our organization at an incredible time as we look to launch .ngo and .ong later this year while continuing to expand .org’s presence around the world. I have no doubt that his experience combined with his commitment to the public interest will serve us well during the exciting times ahead.”

Categories: .Org, Domain Industry, External Articles Tags: