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Guest Post: Newcomer Stymied By ICANN and ICC’s Process

October 20th, 2013 Comments off

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This is a guest post by Christopher R Barron, who is the Co-Founder and Chairman Emeritus of GOProud.

“GOProud is a national organization of gay and straight Americans who seek to promote freedom by supporting free markets, limited government, and a respect for individual rights. We work on the federal level and state level to build strong coalitions of conservative and libertarian activists, organizations and policy makers to advance our shared values and beliefs.”

The following is the post written by Mr. Barron which appears unedited:

“I welcome the long overdue chance to highlight my attempts to participate in ICANN’s new gTLD process.

I am a newcomer to the ICANN world and represent a prominent political group, GOProud, that focuses on supporting free markets, limited government, and a respect for individual rights. We work on the U.S. federal and state levels to build strong coalitions of conservative and libertarian activists, organizations, and policy makers to advance our shared values and beliefs.

We are a gay and gay-allied organization, and as such, attempted to object to dotgay LLC’s “Community Priority” application for .gay via the ICC process as outlined by ICANN.

We were never contacted by dotgay LLC despite the fact that they claim to be engaging all aspects of the “gay community,” since 2009.

I think this is symptomatic of the fact that their coalition largely represents politically liberal, older, affluent, white, gay men. Upon further investigation of their business plans, I was troubled to learn about potential censorship and a regulated registration policy, which are extremely pertinent issues to me and my constituents that believe in free speech and open markets. We represent a political minority within gay and LBT circles, but should not be disregarded within global LGBT dynamics. In fact, this is clearly a misunderstood issue, as surely nobody would ever think that one company could speak for all heterosexual people with a .straight TLD?

For these reasons I endeavored to file a community priority objection on behalf of GOProud with the ICC. My objection was rejected by the ICC due to a technicality–that the 5,000 word limit was exceeded (only when you count all headers and footers).

ICC’s attempts to contact me were never received, and in turn, it disregarded its own procedural rules related to how and when to contact objectors. It was supposed to contact all parties within 14 days of filing, which it did not do, claiming it had received an extension that was never publicly available at the time.…

Guest Post: No Summer Slowdown in .TV! Legacy Fund closes NF.tv for $20,000!

September 5th, 2013 Comments off

This is a guest post by Ammar Rangwala who has been invested in .TV since December 2005.  Ammar owns 250+ top .TV generic properties between both of his companies.  He believes the .TV space provides the best rate of return from an investment standpoint. Started on the Internet in the late 90′s using PC Board (PCB), Wildcat and other forms of bulletin board systems. Worked in banking, real estate, distressed debt and finance for 10+ years. ”

(note: Ammar is a client of MostWantedDomains.com and is a broker or co-broker for all of this .Tv domains)

The following is the guest post:

After close to two months of negotiating with the buyer who is from Russia, Legacy Fund closes NF.tv for $20,000.”

Although we did not ultimately use Sedo Escrow, we want to thank Negar and Alex at Sedo for their tireless effort and commitment to try to make the deal work and MostWantedDomains.com that made the referral that started the transaction off.

Russian buyers have complicated laws in their country and apparently a tax they have to worry about when they do domain transactions.

It took careful explanation of the process to make sure the buyer was comfortable.

Legacy Fund believes the release of the new extensions will only cause further confusion and ultimately strengthen the .TV extension.

The offers for their properties have come in a lot more frequently and buyers are associating .TV with television, not the island of Tuvalu. “End users do not ask about traffic, Google rankings or parking revenue. It does not matter to them.”

In addition, .TV has become the most preferred choice after .COM, which may be too expensive for them to start their own venture from an initial capital outlay.

From an ROI perspective, Legacy Fund invested $102 owing the domain NF.tv for 3 years and sold the domain for $20,000.

A phenomenal ROI.

Other Legacy Fund Sales Include:

Jeu.tv – $50,000.
SS.tv – $30,000
OO.tv – $18,000
Femme.tv – $7,000…

Guest Post: No Summer Slowdown in .TV! Legacy Fund closes NF.tv for $20,000!

September 5th, 2013 Comments off

This is a guest post by Ammar Rangwala who has been invested in .TV since December 2005.  Ammar owns 250+ top .TV generic properties between both of his companies.  He believes the .TV space provides the best rate of return from an investment standpoint. Started on the Internet in the late 90′s using PC Board (PCB), Wildcat and other forms of bulletin board systems. Worked in banking, real estate, distressed debt and finance for 10+ years. ”

(note: Ammar is a client of MostWantedDomains.com and is a broker or co-broker for all of this .Tv domains)

The following is the guest post:

After close to two months of negotiating with the buyer who is from Russia, Legacy Fund closes NF.tv for $20,000.”

Although we did not ultimately use Sedo Escrow, we want to thank Negar and Alex at Sedo for their tireless effort and commitment to try to make the deal work and MostWantedDomains.com that made the referral that started the transaction off.

Russian buyers have complicated laws in their country and apparently a tax they have to worry about when they do domain transactions.

It took careful explanation of the process to make sure the buyer was comfortable.

Legacy Fund believes the release of the new extensions will only cause further confusion and ultimately strengthen the .TV extension.

The offers for their properties have come in a lot more frequently and buyers are associating .TV with television, not the island of Tuvalu. “End users do not ask about traffic, Google rankings or parking revenue. It does not matter to them.”

In addition, .TV has become the most preferred choice after .COM, which may be too expensive for them to start their own venture from an initial capital outlay.

From an ROI perspective, Legacy Fund invested $102 owing the domain NF.tv for 3 years and sold the domain for $20,000.

A phenomenal ROI.

Other Legacy Fund Sales Include:

Jeu.tv – $50,000.
SS.tv – $30,000
OO.tv – $18,000
Femme.tv – $7,000…

Guest Post By Dan Warner: New gTLD Registries Cannot Own Their Domains!

June 27th, 2013 Comments off

Registry Strategy Word Cloud

This is a Guest Post by Dan Warner.  Dan in a domain industry veteran who has presented and spoken at many industry conferences. Dan is was part of the Exclusive team at Dark Blue Sea Ltd (Fabulous.com) for 8 years, which became the 14th largest in the world, had a domain sales platform (DDN) with penetration into 80% of the worlds registrars by volume; an affiliate marketing network ranked as 5th in the world; a dynamic web development engine which published over 1.2 million websites; and acquired more than 600,000 domain names as investments for the company.  Dan also previously served as CEO of DomainAdvertising.com and is currently the founder of RegistryStrategy.com, an independent company that provides professional consulting on registry and registrar businesses.

The following is Mr. Warner Post:

New gTLD Registries cannot own their domains! – or can they?

Traditionally registries have been forbidden from owning domains other than for those “reasonable and necessary for the management and operations of the TLD.” New applicants seem to believe that the separation between Registry – Registrar – Registrant doesn’t exist anymore. If those restrictions still exist a number of applicant business plans will be cut to ribbons.

This issue is addressed in Specification 9, section 1, REGISTRY CODE OF CONDUCT of the New GTLD Agreement Specifications page 54.

  1. 1.In connection with the operation of the registry for the TLD, Registry Operator will not, and will not allow any parent, subsidiary, Affiliate, subcontractor or other related entity, to the extent such party is engaged in the provision of Registry Services with respect to the TLD (each, a “Registry Related Party”), to:
  1. a.Directly or indirectly show any preference or provide special consideration to any registrar with respect to operational access to registry systems and related registry services, unless comparable opportunities to qualify for such preferences or considerations are made available to all registrars on substantially similar terms and subject to substantially similar conditions;
  1. b.Register domain names in its own rights, except for names registered through an ICANN accredited registrar that are “reasonably necessary for the management, operations and purpose of the TLD”, provide, that Registry Operator may reserve names from registration pursuant to Section 2.6 of the Registry Agreement; [ICANN banned domains]

In regard to (a.):  No Registrar Preference

It is worth noting that the design of any registry system needs to be highly open, transparent, and equitable – so that it doesn’t favour one specific registrar in the way it is implemented.  Registries are required to make the ability to register generic domains available to diverse registrars and registrants.…

Guest Post: Has ICANN Already Taken the GAC’s Advice on “Closed Generic” gTLDs?

May 2nd, 2013 Comments off

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This is a guest post By Philip S. Corwin, Esq, Founding Principal, Virtualaw LLC; Of Counsel, Greenberg & Lieberman; and Strategic Advisor, ICANN Sherpa

TheDomains.com publishes Guest Posts from time to time, by well known leaders and authorities in the domain industry. As always Guest Posts are posted in their entirety and unedited:

“”On the afternoon of April 11, 2013, the last day of ICANN’s recent Beijing Meeting, its Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) delivered a highly detailed 12-page Communique outlining safeguards and other substantial alterations that its constituent governments want implemented before new gTLDs can launch.

The document has implications for every new gTLD applicant, but especially for those seeking gTLD names relating to regulated industries and professions as well as other sensitive categories. Its consideration and implementation-to whatever extent ICANN’s Board decides to accommodate the GAC – may well delay the program for at least several months. And large chunks of it are likely to be adopted – because there is a presumption in favor of ICANN accepting GAC advice, and because ICANN needs at least multi-governmental acquiescence, if not active support, to retain its long-term control over the DNS.”

“The Communique contains GAC advice on the controversial subject of “closed generic” gTLDs.

These are generic, dictionary words in which the applicant/registry operator holds no trademark rights yet proposes that it shall be the sole registrant, thereby excluding all present and future competitors from obtaining a domain address that may be the most relevant to its goods, services, and overall identity. Amazon and Google are the most noted new closed generic gTLD applicants, but companies such as L’Oreal and Richemont have also sought to register generic word, non-brand gTLDs consisting of a key industry term (e.g., .beauty and .jewelry) from which all competitors could be excluded.

On this matter, the GAC advice is simple and clear – a closed generic should only be allowed if it serves the public interest, not just the applicant’s private interest:

For strings representing generic terms, exclusive registry access should serve a public interest goal.

Following receipt of the GAC Communique, ICANN invited all new gTLD applicants to file comments on any aspect of it, with a closing date of May 10th. It also invited the general public to comment on the “safeguard” advice, which includes the “Exclusive Access” directive, with that window closing on June 4th.…

IDNX/Sedo: Number Crunching Shows, Domains Sell Faster With “Charm Prices”

January 22nd, 2013 Comments off

This is a Guest Post by Thies Lindenthal, Sedo.com’s product manager for domain pricing, and a visiting scholar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Center for Real Estate. Mr. Lindenthal holds a PhD in Real Estate Finance from Maastricht University, and frequently publishes on both housing markets and on Internet domain names as a form of ‘virtual land’.

Dr. Lindenthal developed IDNX, the first scientific grade price index for Internet domain names.

Here is the Dr. Lindenthal post:

Pricing domain names is as much an art as it is science.

Though opinions differ on the merits of automatic appraisal services (at Sedo, we believe in the benefits of fast, automatic price suggestions), statistics show that one very simple strategy speeds up sales.

The retail world has known for a long time that using charm prices—for example, $499 instead of $500—increases sales and helps a consumer make a faster purchasing decision. Extensive research in retail and housing markets also shows that charm prices are not an urban legend, but a legitimate sales tactic: consumers really do react positively to the “odd” 99 prices.

We wondered whether domain owners might also benefit from this nugget of retail psychology, so we took a closer look at Buy Now domain listings with different price points and the amount of time those listings spent on the market, using Sedo’s sales data as our basis.

A one-off comparison of average time-on-market for domains that ultimately sold for $500 rather than $499 shows that domains priced with a round number took, on average, 22% longer to find a buyer on Sedo’s marketplace.

However, this figure is too high for a handful of reasons.

Firstly, this increase in sales velocity could be caused in part by aggressive sales strategies used by domain investors. Those sellers who often list their domains with low prices and do a lot of additional marketing might also use charm pricing already – which makes it difficult to disentangle the different factors.

As a means of controlling for differences in sales strategies, we compare time-on-market for domains listed by sellers who use both round and charm prices. This ensures a fair comparison. In the case of these domains, we can assume that those with round prices and charm prices are promoted in the same way and that the seller has applied a similar pricing rationale.

Taking it one step further, we look into difference in the quality of the domains in each seller’s account.…

Guest Post: The Future of Exact Match Domains In Search

October 18th, 2012 Comments off

This is a guest post by Mark Collier who describes himself as  an SEO expert turned domainer.

I recently completed a significant correlation study of Google’s algorithm and noticed the continued decline since 2010 of the power of Exact Match Domains (EMDs).

After Matt Cutts’ announcement that Google latest algorithm  update would target “low-quality” exact match domains, domainers were left feeling that the last 3 years have been nothing less than a pummeling by the search giant.

In 2010 SEOMoz’s correlation study showed a 0.38 correlation between a .com EMD and ranking #1 in Google, just a year later it was 0.22 and my own 2012 study showed a 0.18 correlation.

This sustained set of blows to the raw SEO power of EMDs has left many in the domaining industry, including myself, pondering the future of EMDs.

Now we all know EMDs hold branding and memorability value, but what’s the likely value of EMDs in 2014, 2015, etc.

It may help to look at what the future of search engines will be in 2014 onwards to make this determination.

We know due to the continued decline of webmaster controlled factors (particularly on page factors) that Google are moving away from using factors that can be influenced easily or significantly by the owner of the website it benefits.

Essentially Google want to be harder to manipulate, not because they don’t like webmasters but because they believe and probably rightly so that being open to manipulation leads to poorer search results for users.

So in recognizing this, we could say that as EMDs are controlled solely by the webmaster that they are destined to continued decline and ultimate failure, but that of course would be nonsense, I’m not a doomsdayer and EMDs are most certainly not dead.

If Google’s goal is to provide the best search results for users then they must take into account the fact that users often search for the domains they could type directly into the search bar and the fact that often the EMD for a search result actually provides the most relevant content for a query.

What’s evident here is that Google will strive to recognize when users are searching for a particular domain or brand and when the EMD actually provides the most relevant content and only then will webmasters see the value of their EMD translated into search engine traffic.

The recent update targeted “low-quality” EMDs, translation:

irrelevant or poor quality content e.g.…

Guest Post By Paul Keating On UDRP’s: “Why Panel Certification is Important” The Case Of HardwareResources.Org

February 20th, 2012 Comments off

This Guest Post was written by Paul Raynor Keating, Esq.[1] one of the preeminent attorney’s practicing in the domain industry.  Paul has handled many UDRP’s and had some thoughts about a recent UDRP involving the domain name HardwareResources.org.

We are publishing the post unedited:

“”Although the UDRP has functioned for over a decade, the evidence continues to mount in favor of a certification process so all can be assured that panelists have the proper legal knowledge and address claims seriously.   Examples abound of panel errors but I have seen few that competes with the likes of Hardware Resources, Inc. v. Yaseen Rehman, Claim Number: FA1201001423229 (HardwareResources.org), a recent decision by NAF-favored panelist Atkinson (http://www.dnattorney.com/study.shtml).

In Hardware Resources, the panelist was so absorbed with the Complainant’s assertions that he failed to examine even the most basic aspects of the claim.  Granted the case was a default.  But that provides little excuse given the obviousness of the problems.  Given Mr. Atkinson’s litigation experience (he authored an article entitled “How to Respond to Trial Objections in 1995), I am somewhat perplexed.

Complainant asserted 4 registered trademarks for “HR Hardware Resources”.  A 10-second trip to the USPTO site satisfied my surprise that the PTO would allow registration of such a descriptive trademark.  Complainant’s “trademarks” consisted of 2 text marks and 2 design marks.  Each of the marks contained the following disclaimer:

“NO CLAIM IS MADE TO THE EXCLUSIVE RIGHT TO USE “HARDWARE RESOURCES” APART FROM THE MARK AS SHOWN.”

The significance of the disclaimer is of course that the Complainant had expressly disclaimed the words “Hardware Resources” if they did not appear with “HR”.   Perhaps Mr. Atkinson (or more likely the intern at NAF who may have written the decision?) missed that bit.

Notwithstanding the clear disclaimers, the Mr. Atkinson boldly stated:

“The differences between the mark and the disputed domain name include the deletion of the initial letters “H” and “R” of Complainant’s mark, the removal of the space between the terms, and the addition of the generic top-level domain (“gTLD”) “.org.” The Panel holds that removing letters from a mark does not differentiate a disputed domain name from the mark.”

Had Mr. Atkinson (or his associate) taken 20 seconds of time he could easily have discovered that the elimination the “HR” was in fact material for the simple reason that Complainant held no trademark rights in their absence.  Actually, come to think if it, the disclaimer would have been printed in the trademark registration certificate that Complainant surely produced.…

Categories: External Articles, Guest Posts, Legal, udrp Tags:

Guest Post: From 0 To 10,000 Uniques In Less Than 60 Days: A Case Study

August 5th, 2011 Comments off

This post was written by Sean Sullivan who Director or Tier 1 Development with  DomainHoldings:

Not long ago I wrote an article asking if a .US domain could become just as successful as a .Com.

The story was about CelebrityGossip.us, a domain that I acquired for my girlfriend Erika  as a side project that I thought would be fun for her.

After she showed that she had significant interest in it I thought that I’d help take it to the next level and do some professional development on the project.

So the first step was designing a great looking site that was different than the traditional gossip sites. Erika and her close friend and business partner in this endeavor, Samantha decided to give it a different look and feel and incorporate some original ideas into it.

One of which was including stories from “Old Hollywood”, gossip and scandals from 50+ years ago. Again quality content that’s original will always help a site gain ranking on a more accelerated rate. The site officially launched on June 5th.

One of the less commonly known ways that you can help establish a brand and accelerate rankings is by using highly targeted re-directs. It’s something that if done correctly accomplishes two goals. One, it helps establish your brand with consumers. Secondly if you have a massive amount of visitors being directed to your site that can help grab the attention of other websites who will then link to you. Plus there can be some SEO benefits as well, but it’s technical and detailed so I’ll spare you.

So now you might be wondering exactly what I’m talking about when I say re-directing traffic. Do I mean just purchasing traffic with PPC or one of the traffic market places? Well you could do that, but I think a better strategy is to find domains and or websites that are highly related to your target audience with traffic and then re-directing that domain with a permanent 301 re-direct. I’m going to bypass the SEO specific details and instead provide you with some metrics instead.

From June 9th to July 17th the traffic re-direct sent approximately 450,000 unique visitors. I know, that sounds like a giant expense and you’re thinking how do you possibly send that much traffic to one site affordably. If you can get creative and cut deals with domain owners who have sites that do a huge amount of traffic (even in aggregate) but convert poorly you can accomplish this.

Celebrity Gossip - DevelopmentAs You Can See – At Launch Zero Traffic – Click To Enlarge
celebritygossip.us traffic closer lookA Closer Look At The Traffic

One of the key things that I did with this re-direct was find targeted traffic that was inexpensive yet still relevant. I won’t disclose the traffic source or all my secrets but my goal at the end of this program was to retain anywhere from 1% to 3% of those 450,000 re-direct visitors as regular readers of CelebrityGossip.us.

On July 18th we turned off the traffic re-direct and have since relied solely on the sites type-in traffic from returning readers and the traffic obtained via organic search. (Mostly Google) As you can see from the images below (click to see larger picture) the long tail is where things really start to develop.

I’m pleased to say that while it is still early, it seems to have worked as planned. CelebrityGossip.us was doing on average 250 to 450 unique visitors a day in organic and direct navigation traffic. This traffic is most likely attributed to visitors who were returning to read more since being introduced to the site.

celebrity gossipTraffic Once The Re-Direct Was Turned Off

I won’t know the exact numbers for about 45 days (based on returning visitors vs 30 day period) but I am estimating that CelebrityGossip.us will have retained roughly 3,000 to 4,000 unique visitors (regular readers) that were introduced to the site via the traffic re-direct. Things will be slightly more difficult to determine now since we have re-branded the site as CelebGossip.com but as you can see in the images below (click to enlarge) all traffic sources were growing quickly. Just before we re-branded the site on August 2nd total traffic was nearly 900 uniques a day.

Organic Traffic Ramping Up
Great Increases In Organic Traffic

While I think that the re-direct was a good technique that’s outside the box of traditional SEO and web development, the real force driving the sites success has been Erika and Samantha’s commitment to writing great quality content daily. As anyone who blogs or does web development knows, writing content on a daily basis can be a grind. So kudos ladies, you’ve done well.

In closing there are no immediate short cuts to success. There are some opportunities that you can take advantage of that increase your odds for success. That said, I don’t want people to think that by just doing a re-direct it’s going to equal success over night. If done incorrectly or not methodically re-directs can do more damage than good. So kids don’t try this at home without the supervision of an SEO professional.

Regarding the matter of being able to obtain success with a .US domain, I think this case study is indicative that it in fact can be done. You simply need to have the right plan of action in place. I think that a .Com is always going to be a preferable domain (hence the acquisition of CelebGossip.com)

But if you’ve got a great site, good content and are bringing something of quality to the internet you too can go from zero to 10,000 uniques a month pretty quickly.

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