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Wednesday domain news roundup

August 7, 2012.post, Demand Media, Domaining, Domainnamewire, michael blend, udrp, UncategorizedComments Off on Wednesday domain news roundup

I’m on vacation for a couple weeks. I’ve got posts queued up for each day, but WordPress often “misses schedule” on posts.

Anyhow, I’ll be a little slow on approving comments that get caught in moderation. I’ll also miss a story here and there. Here are some interesting domain news stories from around the web the past couple days, in condensed form.

Michael Blend has been promoted at Demand Media. Michael has a long history in the domain industry and is very well respected. I wish Michael the best in his new role.

Two two letter .com domain names have sold recently, including RH.com and YG.com.

The owner of UDRPsearch.com successfully defended a domain name in a UDRP.

.Post has gone live. Nobody cares.


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Demand Media and Donuts respond to lawyer’s accusations about TLD eligibility

August 1, 2012Demand Media, Domaining, Domainnamewire, donuts, new tlds, Policy & LawComments Off on Demand Media and Donuts respond to lawyer’s accusations about TLD eligibility

Companies respond to allegations about their eligibility to run top level domain names.

This morning I (and a handful of other bloggers) received a copy of a letter written by McCarter & English partner Jeffrey Stoler calling into question Demand Media’s and Donut’s eligibility for applying for new top level domains.

The crux of the issue that Stoler brings up (pdf) is ICANN’s three strikes rule. The rule says that if you’ve been on the losing end of three final UDRP, ACPA, or similar rulings with one in the past four years, then you are disqualified from applying for new top level domains.

By the spirit of this rule Demand Media certainly would be ineligible. Its subsidiaries have lost dozens of UDRP cases.

I’m not aware of any other applicant besides Demand Media that would be ensnared by this rule. Go Daddy would have been had the program kicked off as planned, but since the program was delayed I believe the company falls outside the four year window.

Stoler’s letter says there’s strong evidence that Donuts is merely an alter ego of Demand Media.

Demand Media had limited comment on the letter, citing its quiet period. A company spokesperson said:

We’re limited in what we can say given that we’re in a quiet period. However, we do believe our applications meet the requirements set forth in ICANN’s applicant guidebook, including the eligibility requirements. We continue to feel good about the new gTLD program and the opportunity to participate in this exciting new initiative.

Donuts co-founder Jonathon Nevett responded:

The letter — generated by a law firm representing an anonymous client — is rife with factual inaccuracies and meritless allegations. Demand Media is a commercial partner and is neither an investor in nor part of a joint venture with Donuts. We look forward to engaging in the ICANN review process and its thorough background checks, and are confident that we meet all requirements to operate a Top Level Domain registry.

Nevett brings up a burning question: who is behind Stoler’s letter? Attorneys don’t spend hours of their time coming up with this stuff for the fun of it. Given that just about every new TLD applicant has a conflict with Donuts, it could be any number of competitors.

Stoler has not returned my voicemail left this morning.


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Demand Media’s 26 TLDs hit the armed forces, democrats, and republicans

June 13, 2012Demand Media, Domain Registrars, Domaining, Domainnamewire, eNom, new top level domains, United TLDComments Off on Demand Media’s 26 TLDs hit the armed forces, democrats, and republicans

Demand Media applies for 26 domain names — and some of them are very interesting.

Publicly traded Demand Media, parent company of domain registrar eNom, has applied for 26 top level domain names through (what appears to be) a subsidiary called United TLD Holdco Ltd.

The company also has a deal to share in up to 107 top level domains applied for by Donuts, Inc.

Demand Media’s list is interesting. Of course, it didn’t want to conflict with Donuts, Inc. on any applications. The only one I see close would be .fishing (Donuts has applied for .fish).

The company went after the armed forces market with .airforce, .army, and .navy. I suppose you could add .ninja to that list. Although these aren’t trademarked, it will be interesting if any governments object to these.

Here’s the full list:

ACTOR
AIRFORCE
ARMY
BAR
CAM
DANCE
DEMOCRAT
ENGINEER
FISHING
GAY
GIVES
GREEN
IMMOBILIEN
KAUFEN
MAP
MODA
MOM
MOTO
NAVY
NINJA
PUB
REHAB
REPUBLICAN
RIP
SOCIAL
WOW


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Related posts:

  1. Demand Media releases more details about its gTLD plans and deal with Donuts
  2. A tasty conversation with Donuts, which just applied for 307 TLDs
  3. Donuts raises $100 million, applies for 307 new TLDs

Demand Media releases more details about its gTLD plans and deal with Donuts

June 11, 2012Demand Media, Domaining, Domainnamewire, donuts inc, paul stahura, UncategorizedComments Off on Demand Media releases more details about its gTLD plans and deal with Donuts

Demand Media applies for 26 TLDs outright and has rights to up to 107 applied for by partner Donuts, Inc.

Demand Media announced today that it has applied for 26 top level domains on its own, and also can obtain rights to 107 gTLDs being applied for by Donuts, Inc.

In May it announced that it had invested $18 million in new top level domains, which led many to suspect that the company had applied for close to 100 new top level domains. (At $185,000 a piece for the application, it would come out to about 97 applications.)

But then Donuts, Inc. announced it had applied for 307 top level domains and had selected Demand Media as its back end registry partner.

Donuts, Inc. confirmed to me then that Demand Media was not an investor, but clearly the relationship is tight.

The news out today sheds a bit more light on the deal:

…Demand Media has entered into a strategic arrangement with Donuts Inc., an Internet domain name registry founded by industry veterans, through which it may acquire rights in certain gTLDs after they have been awarded to Donuts by ICANN. These rights are shared equally with Donuts and are associated with 107 gTLDs for which Donuts is the applicant.

Donuts CEO Paul Stahura says the deal brings Donuts past its $100 million in funding. So it would appear that a good portion of the $18 million Demand Media invested in new top level domains was actually payments made to Donuts for its rights on the 107 top level domains.

It’s also probable that there’s no overlap between Demand Media’s 26 applications and Donuts’ 307 applications.

Donuts has yet to file an SEC statement regarding the latest round of funding, at least under the same corporate name as its original $1 million funding.

Donuts founder Paul Stahura sold domain registrar eNom to Demand Media in 2006.


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Related posts:

  1. Donuts raises $100 million, applies for 307 new TLDs
  2. A tasty conversation with Donuts, which just applied for 307 TLDs
  3. Demand Media Renews Ad Deal With Google

Domain stocks doing very well this year

May 30, 2012Demand Media, dmd, Domaining, Domainnamewire, tcx, Tucows, Uncategorized, VeriSign, vrsn, web.com, wwwwComments Off on Domain stocks doing very well this year

Tucows more than doubles and other domain stocks also on a tear.

It has been a decent year for the NASDAQ so far. But returns on domain stocks have been exceptional.

Consider Tucows (TCX), which opened the year at 75 cents. It has more than doubled to $1.52 at today’s open. The company continues to buy back stock, but I also think there’s overall enthusiasm for its domain business and the prospects of its mobile phone offering Ting.

Demand Media, which owns eNom, has jumped 35% this year to today’s open of $9.52. Investors are becoming more comfortable with the company’s ability to adapt to search engine algorithm changes. It’s also well positioned to take advantage of new top level domains. As a registrar, it will certainly profit from other company’s new TLDs. More risky is its $18 million bet on its own new TLDs.

Web.com (WWWW), which owns domain registrars Register.com and Network Solutions, is also up 35% this year to today’s $15.97 open.

Finally, .com and .net registry VeriSign (VRSN) has marched forward 9% this year. It has a lot of new TLD clients (over 200 applications), but I suspect its revenue from new TLDs will remain insignificant compared to its .com registry revenue for the foreseeable future.


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Demand Media invests $18 million in new TLDs

May 8, 2012Demand Media, dmd, Domain Registrars, Domaining, Domainnamewire, eNom, new tldsComments Off on Demand Media invests $18 million in new TLDs

That’s a whole lotta top level domains.

[Updated with comment from Demand Media and from investor call] Demand Media, parent company of eNom, announced today that it has invested $18 million into new top level domain names.

It’s not clear if this is for application fees only:

In April 2012, Demand Media invested $18 million in pursuit of its generic Top Level Domain (“gTLD”) initiative, which it believes represents a complementary strategic growth opportunity for its Registrar services.

Given that this refers only to the month of April, when Demand Media would have completed its applications, it’s possible that this is for application fees and related expenses only. That’s a whole lot of top level domains.

Kristen Moore, VP, Corporate Marketing & Communications at Demand Media, tells Domain Name Wire: “As the ICANN application process is not yet completed, we aren’t commenting on the specifics of any applications beyond the size of our investment and our enthusiasm for the opportunity at this time.”

On the investor conference call today, the company said it has committed $18 million in “support” of the program. It has signed two partners that will use its backend system. It also said it “may become a registry in our own right”, e.g. apply for domains itself. Its CFO said it “funded” $18 million in April, which still leads us back to application fees.

Interestingly, by the spirit of the rules, Demand Media shouldn’t be eligible to apply for new TLDs due to multiple UDRP losses. But there are plenty of technicalities to get around that.


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  1. In Demand (Part 2): How the Domain Business Can Benefit from Demand Media
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Demand Media is Down 55% from Its IPO, But It’s Not Alone

September 14, 2011Demand Media, Domain Registrars, Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off on Demand Media is Down 55% from Its IPO, But It’s Not Alone

Majority of 2011 U.S. IPOs are under water.

If you managed to buy Demand Media’s stock at the $17 offering price in January, you’ve taken a 55% hit. The stock closed today at $7.62.

More likely if you bought on the first day you paid north of $20 for the stock.

But is this fall because the company is weak or is it just a case of bad timing? (or good for those that got to sell there shares in January?)

Data tracker Dealogic says 63% of U.S. initial public offerings this year are underwater. Of course the entire market is below where it started this year, so that shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. And we were all taught in school that IPOs underperform the market in the long term.

Nonetheless, investors are now paying more attention to earnings of recently IPO’d companies. In the case of Demand Media, its earnings are negative.


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Demand Media Renews Ad Deal With Google

August 9, 2011Demand Media, Domain Registrars, Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off on Demand Media Renews Ad Deal With Google

Demand Media renews advertising deal with Google as loss widens.

Demand Media released earnings this afternoon for the second quarter.

Some of the GAAP financial highlights include:

-Revenue up 32% compared to Q2 2010

-Net loss increased to $2.4 million

-Traffic acquisition costs (the amount shared with partners) decreased from $3.1 million in Q2 2010 to $2.8 million this year

But also buried in the press release is an announcement that the company renewed its advertising deal with Google for three more years. Demand Media uses Adsense to monetize many of its sites, including eHow, but also uses Google to monetize its owned and operated domain name portfolio. It’s not clear in the press release if this deal is for both of those segments.


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With Lock Up Period Ending, Demand Media Shares Hover at $11

July 18, 2011Demand Media, Domain Registrars, Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off on With Lock Up Period Ending, Demand Media Shares Hover at $11

With one week to go, Demand Media shares hit fresh lows.

Next week ends a 180 day lock up period in which many Demand Media option holders can finally sell their shares in the company.

Unfortunately for them, shares are now trading at only $11. That’s well below its $17 opening price for its debut in January, when the share price promptly shot up to $23.50. The stock peaked at $27.38 before beginning its precipitous fall.

That doesn’t mean you need to feel bad for all Demand Media employees, however. VIP shareholders got to sell millions of shares during the IPO and a good number of employees have options priced in the single digits.

Still, it must be heart-wrenching for employees to watch the stock price fall during the lockup period. My guess is the current downward pressure on the stock has a lot to do with the expiration of the lock-up period.

We’ll see how many shares hit the market in coming weeks.


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Demand Media Loses Another UDRP

July 14, 2011Demand Media, Domaining, Domainnamewire, Policy & Law, udrpComments Off on Demand Media Loses Another UDRP

Company hit with third UDRP loss of the year despite offer to transfer domain name at no charge.

Demand Media has another UDRP loss, despite its best efforts to close the case without a decision.

The case was filed by Universal American Corp for the domain name todaysoption.com. If you follow UDRP cases closely, this might look familiar. The complainant won a UDRP for the exact same domain name in 2009. But it managed to let the domain name expire after gaining control of it. Since the domain was registered at eNom, the Demand Media registrar added it to its own collection.

Demand Media says it offered to transfer the domain name to Universal American Corp three times after receiving the UDRP, but never heard back. The panel decided to issue a decision on the case and found against Demand Media.

The company frequently offers to transfer domain names when hit with a UDRP. Last year it offered to transfer succesories.com to Successories.com, LLC and transfer bhpbillito.com and bhpbillliton.com to BHP Billiton Innovation Pty Ltd. In both cases the complainants didn’t accept the offer and Demand Media lost the cases.

This is the company’s third UDRP loss for the year. It lost six cases last year.


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Related posts:

  1. Demand Media Gets Into the Other Side of UDRP
  2. Demand Media Files to Go Public – Demand By the Numbers
  3. Demand Media Will Never Get Love from the Mainstream Media