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As Many As 5K .Com’s Taken Away By Sealed Court Order By Verisign Including Some Of Mine

October 2nd, 2014 Comments off
Overnight I received a notice that several domain names I owned were transferred by a sealed court from Verisign without notice and of course without the court order. The domain names just were transferred by Verisign to another domain and are now listed for sale at another marketplace. Another domainer sent me an identical notice […]

Guest Post By Michael Castello On Google: “Block The Bullies”

May 15th, 2014 Comments off

This is a guest post by Michael Castello who is the CEO and President of Castello Cities Internet Network, Inc. who is solely responsibly for its contents

CCIN owns, manages and develops some of the most recognized Geo and Generic domain name brands in the world including PalmSprings.com, Nashville.com, Manicure.com and Traveler.com. He is also the owner of Daycare.com which he and his wife Sheri founded in 1997.

In 2014 Michael sold Whisky.com for $3.1 million which is the 24th largest domain name sale in history.

Michael has spoken internationally at many conferences including TRAFFIC, Borrell Advertising Conference, GEO Domain Expo and the Internet Marketing & Domaining Conference in Punta del Este Uruguay among others.

He was inducted into the Targeted TRAFFIC Hall of Fame in 2009 and Geo Domain Hall of Fame 2010.

Michael was on the Board of Director for both Associated Cities and Geo Publishers and has been an active member of ICANN’s Business Users Constituency since 2009.

Here is the Guest Post:

As a child, I did not like spiders. I even have recordings that my father made when I was 2 years old where I said, “I don’t like SPIDERS!” Now, I think I know why.

Block the Bullies is an effort to level the playing field between domain owners and search engines.

In my opinion, search engines are hogging the bandwidth that website owners pay for.

I pay a lot of money to have a large “pipe” for my website servers, so more people can use Nashville.com or Manicure.com without waiting a long time for pages to appear.

However, search engine spiders swarm through this “pipe” constantly, restricting the bandwidth that I want my visitors to use. This is a kind of Denial of Service (DOS) attack. I may be losing customers if a visitor waits too long, leaves, and goes to a competitor. This competitor may be a large corporation which can spend millions of dollars more on a much larger pipe.

What are our options?

Well, we want search engines to find our content because many visitors find us via search. That’s fair enough – but I only want my virtual house to be invaded when I open the door and let visitors in.

Shouldn’t I have the right to manage my front door?

Block the Bullies is an effort that empowers users to start using their server’s ROBOTS.TXT file.

It should be guaranteed by a virtual Bill of Rights.

The file can tell search engines to look only at what we want them to look at, or go away entirely.

Google is the 800lb gorilla in the room. Google made most of its power and money by putting your content on their pages for people to search for. Then they started making billions allowing competitors to pay top dollar to be on top of the search results. I think Google owes us more respect.

Try putting robots.txt after any website address, i.e. http://www.cnn.com/robots.txt

This is a line I’d like to see more of:

User-agent: Googlebot
Disallow: /

It tells Google to go away.

Some might think that is commercial suicide, and while I agree, there is no reason why we can’t do this symbolically once a year to make a statement that WE are still in control.

I would take it further: search spiders should read the robots.txt file to tell them how often and at what time they can visit our websites.

I want them to come at 2am daily, when business is slow.

Let’s use the tools available to us to gain more leverage.

The more of us that engage in our movement, the more we will make ourselves profitable in a future that is looking less friendly to the individual entrepreneur, who assumes the risks of running a business.

I invite everyone who owns a domain name to join us at TRAFFIC Vegas this month to talk about our future, and how we can make ourselves more self-sufficient and successful in the virtual world.

Thanks for your time,

Michael Castello

You can read about Michael Call To Action program here

You can read about the sale of Whisky.com here

 

Categories: External Articles, google, Guest Posts Tags:

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: