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Carman’s Fine Foods is a reverse domain name hijacker

February 11, 2016Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off

Australian company nailed for abusing cybersquatting dispute policy proceedings.

An Australian seller of cereals and granola has been found to have engaged in reverse domain name hijacking in a .au Dispute Resolution Policy dispute.

Carman’s Fine Foods went after the owner of, whose name is Ross Wayne Carman.

Mr. Carmen used the domain name for one of his businesses.

The complainant made some silly arguments, including:

The Respondent’s surname is distinct from his former business name and the Disputed Domain Name in that it is “carman” (singular) rather than “carmans”, signifying either a plural or possessive. This is a significant differentiation between the Disputed Domain Name and the Respondent’s surname, which is what he is likely to have been commonly known as.

In finding reverse domain name hijacking, panelist John Swinson wrote:

The Panel considers the Complainant launched the proceedings following several failed attempts to purchase the Disputed Domain Name at what it considered to be a reasonable price. The Complainant ought to have known its Complaint was doomed to fail.

The Panel considers that the Complainant neglected to address the fact that the registered trade marks it claimed to own are in fact not registered in the Complainant’s name but are governed by a license. This fact was only brought to light by the Respondent, and the Complainant addressed this only through a supplemental filing. Further, the Complainant misrepresents the statements, and the effect of the statements, made by the Respondent in email correspondence in relation to the sale of the Disputed Domain Name.

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Two interesting GoDaddy patent applications

February 11, 2016Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off

Applications describe system for recommending different domain names for a website, and making it easy to transition.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has published two interesting patent applications from GoDaddy related to search engine optimization and localization.

Applications number 14/453415 and 14/453418 (pdf) are for “Optimized domain names and websites based on incoming traffic” and “Search engine optimization of domain names and websites”.

Both describe essentially the same thing: ways to create new SEO-optimized domain names and sites based on certain elements of the existing domain name, website content and traffic.

Here’s the abstract for 14/453418:

The present invention may create a search engine optimized domain name and update a website based on the current domain name, website, forwarding URLs and/or the locations of incoming traffic to the website. The present invention may create a new domain name and a new website based on an initial domain name and an initial website and allow a user to register the new domain name and host the new website with a single purchase. The present invention may also create a new domain name and/or update the language of a website based on the location of incoming traffic to the website. The present invention may also map an IP address/name server to a category of a website and then map the category to one or more top-level domains used in suggested domain names. The present invention may also tokenize a forwarding URL and spin the tokens into additional tokens that may be used to create domain names for registration.

For example, if a website gets the majority of its traffic from New York City, it could add NYC or NewYork to the second level domain name (or even change the top level domain name).

It could also suggest that a site with a blog section create, and easily transfer the content from the original site to the new one.

The listed inventors are Nitin Gupta (former Director of Product Management – Domains and now at GoFundMe), Raj Nijjer (former Sr. Director of Product Management and now at Yext) and Tapan Kamdar (current Sr. Director of Product Management at GoDaddy).

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Not Quite What You’re Thinking: (Expired Domain Report)

February 11, 2016Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off

Here are expired domain names that sold within the past week.

Here’s something you’re going to see more and more as brands contend with the vagaries of foreign pronunciation and transliteration: ($14.0k). As you must have guessed, that price was based on an electric car company. But it’s not a typo.

In Romania, there is a town called Teșila – evidently too small to appear in the list of cities with 2000+ residents. Small size notwithstanding, you can book a luxury ski hotel there. Plenty of ski resorts own their name in .COM. And it’s not inconceivable that might have been purchased for this reason, as was just 2 weeks ago.

For all I know, this town’s name may share a common origin with Nikola Tesla, the Serb-born inventor and eponym of Tesla Motors. After all, borders in the Balkans jump about like grasshoppers. Even today Serbian is spoken in parts of Romania. Tesla’s birth place has belonged to multiple nation states since it produced that genius. So Tesila may simply be a European variant of “Tesla”.

Ha! That’s all a red herring, a dead end; and I’ve misled you unconscionably. In fact, is Chinese. Well, sort of. First we had Nikola Tesla’s name in the Cyrillic alphabet, “Тесла”. Then it passed through our Latin alphabet as “Tesla” (when he emigrated to the USA in 1884). Then it went into Chinese ideograms as “特斯拉” (after the man became world famous). Finally, it bounced back to the internet’s default Latin alphabet, slightly distorted as the Pinyin “Tè Sī Lā” (once domain names for electric car companies found big market value in China).

Yep. “Te Si La” is Chinese, and it means simply “Tesla”. Lawyers for Tesla Motors will have a hard time proving their company was targeted by this purchase. After all, denotes “Tesla” in every sense – the man himself, the electric car, even the unit for magnetic flux density: 1 Tesla = 1 Weber / Meter^2 =1 Kilogram / ( Amp * Second^2). Such meanings predate electric car companies; for “Tesla” went to China along with AC electricity long ago. Actually, while Tesla Motors doesn’t yet own, the company has a history of buying domains for brand protection. If they plan on selling many cars in China, they’d be wise to acquire

Domain End $ At Domain End $ At 14,000 SN 4544 SN 4444 SN 3450 SN 3433 SN 3120 SN 3099 NJ 2815 NJ 2609 SN 2600 NJ 2600 NJ 2300 NJ 2240 SN 2205 NJ 2107 NJ 2047 NJ

Speaking of automotive companies, ($3.1k) is a potential upgrade for, which develops tests and simulators for vehicle power trains – including electric cars. “A + D” is also a skin ointment for diaper rash.

While I’d love to believe that ($2.2k) is an homage to another giant of electromagnetism, James Clerk Maxwell, that fellow didn’t provide the name for anything as trendy as a Tesla car – just the backbone of modern technology, Maxwell’s equations, without which nothing from electrical power to the internet would exist. Time for my inner electrical engineer to shut up, huh. In the real world, will probably upgrade 1 of half a dozen bars, bakeries, or restaurants with websites like,,,, etc.

If sounds familiar, then that’s probably because George Costanza lied to you about “Vandelay Industries” in the show “Seinfeld”. Still, there are a couple of real sites named Vandelay – including a genuine IT company called Vandelay Industries, believe it or not. ($4.4k) should upgrade, which (despite its name and logo) is a site for videos not marijuana. ($4.5k) was a P2P file-sharing site that ran afoul of Swedish courts for copyright infringement. Clearly the site was quite popular, since its clunky 3-word .ORG ranks 2nd out of hundreds of auctions for the week. ($2.6k) means “wholesaler” in Turkish. Consequently, the word is found in the names of various drop-shipping websites and suppliers:,,, etc. ($3.4k) is the sort of domain I’d recommend domainers avoid. To me it looks like cyber squatting and a UDRP risk. Not only is the “TED Talks” series a well known brand, popular enough that attempted resale could lead to bad publicity for our industry; the organization already owns and ranks first in SERPs, giving them little motivation to buy anyway.

Domain End $ At Domain End $ At 1850 SN Parenthood
1600 NJ 1515 NJ 1515 NJ 1405 NJ 1269 SN 1242 NJ 1210 SN 1210 NJ 1200 NJ 1122 NJ 1110 NJ 1100 NJ 1100 NJ 1010 NJ 1010 NJ 1005 SN 995 SN apparently translates as “corner gate” (角门 / jiǎo mén), though why such a notion would be worth $1.2k wholesale … who knows? Cultural overtones are frequently lost in translation. If you know the meaning of ($1.2k) or ($1.0k), do tell!

Just as we ended up with an extra “i” in after “Tesla” bounced back from Chinese, so too we end up with an extra “e” in the Malay word for “film”: ($1.0k). Yes, the domain can be regarded as a brandable derived from the word “file”. (Think: “File ’em!”) But it’s important for the owner to know (if he doesn’t already) that the National Film Department of Malaysia is called “Filem Negara“. “CHIPs” are balanced on that $2k number as if it were the fulcrum of a seesaw. After 1 item with repeating letters at $2.6k, you’ll see a trio at $2.2k, $2.1k, and $2.0k. Then there’s another at $1850. These weekly articles only show expired domains. But among non-expired inventory, at NameJet I count 2 more above $2k and 2 more below, going as low as $1720.

Domain End $ At Domain End $ At
986 NJ 973 NJ 929 SN 910 NJ 910 NJ 898 NJ 875 SN 863 NJ 855 NJ 830 NJ 760 NJ 757 SN
755 NJ 750 SN 735 SN 720 NJ 718 NJ 694 SN 692 NJ 689 NJ 688 NJ 661 NJ 650 NJ 640 NJ 625 NJ 621 NJ 610 NJ 606 NJ 605 SN 603 SN 600 NJ 599 SN

In case you haven’t noticed by now, the Turkish domain market is exceptionally well developed and recently quite active. ($929) is Turkish for “play time”, and it can serve as an upgrade for this children’s game site built on .ORG. ($757) looks like a city name, but it may be nothing more than fictional place in a video game called RuneScape, which has its own encyclopedia entry – heaven help us! ($898) matches a NY restaurant or bar. ($735) can upgrade the website of either a handbag / jewelry designer named Montserat De Lucca (based in L.A.) or an Uruguayan winery. Any bets which? ($606) is a nickname no teenager wants – nor any adult trying to lose weight, for that matter. Curious how that brand name will be put to use … As clear and memorable as it is, for its most intuitive application it’s quite insulting. Interesting to see $910 for what looks to be a brandable or surname .NET: The corresponding is an electronics website.

Domain End $ At Domain End $ At 599 NJ 599 NJ 595 NJ 590 NJ 587 SN 586 NJ 585 SN 581 NJ 575 SN 573 NJ
552 SN 550 SN 540 SN 540 NJ 540 NJ 530 NJ 530 SN 530 NJ 530 NJ 529 NJ
527 NJ 520 NJ 513 NJ 512 NJ 511 NJ Global
510 NJ 510 NJ 510 NJ 509 NJ 505 SN
500 SN Soulard
497 NJ ($550) would be photovoltaic cells in German, I believe. ($586) has applications for repackaging opened goods, including food. Quite a good buy. My guess (with no time for research) is that is Thai or Vietnamese … or a ribald bit of English.

At first, I couldn’t make hide nor hair of ($530). Turns out, it’s a vital Polish word – “Słońce”, meaning the sun. ($540) is even more puzzling. has no record of it, but it seems to be about CP = Catholic Prayers. Purchased for the back links, one would assume.

Domain End $ At Domain End $ At 487 SN 483 NJ 479 SN 470 NJ 463 NJ 460 NJ 460 NJ 456 SN 451 NJ 445 SN
436 SN 435 NJ 429 NJ BigEddie
425 NJ 425 SN 425 SN 425 SN 423 NJ 420 NJ 413 NJ
411 NJ 410 NJ 410 NJ 405 SN 404 SN 395 NJ

Whether it’s or that sold for $425 depends on whether you watch “sports” or “sport” … whether you’d sing “Let freedom ring!” or “God save The Queen! My hunch was the American version, but the Brits do have a consulting firm at that offers “mathematical modelling” (Oh, those double “L”s!) and data “visualisation” (Where did the “Z” go?); so this may wind up British after all. ($425) is notable for being the only expired .US domain to appear in these charts since November 2014. We Americans certainly pay less attention to our ccTLD than people in the UK do theirs. ($463) matches the brand name of a seaweed extract used for skin care. Going now to a country that loves to eat seaweed, ($436) defines the tiny Japanese town of Setouchi on the island of Amami Ōshima, near Okinawa. Apparently, they prefer a word order opposite ours – moving inward rather than outward.

Domain End $ At Domain End $ At 393 NJ WildOrchid
390 NJ 380 NJ 379 SN 379 SN 376 SN 375 SN 369 SN 361 NJ 359 NJ 358 SN 356 NJ
355 NJ 352 NJ 350 NJ 350 SN [sic] 350 SN 349 NJ 346 SN 345 SN 343 NJ 341 NJ 340 NJ 340 NJ 340 NJ 340 NJ 340 NJ 340 NJ 340 NJ 340 NJ 340 NJ 339 NJ

It’s striking how many domains sold during the past week – definitely the most surprising feature of these charts. The week before, I could only report 1 of them at $600. This time there are 43!  Price-wise, they’re all over the place, ranging from $330 to $1.2k. Really, the distribution is heavily weighted at the lower end: 3/43 surpassed $1k, but 18/43 (nearly half) fell within a narrow $330-$349 range.

Turkey strikes again! As near as I can tell, ($375) is English plus the Turkish word for “chat” (“sohbet”). There is still an active website called

Domain End $ At Domain End $ At 334 NJ 334 SN 333 SN 332 SN 331 NJ 330 NJ 330 NJ 330 NJ 330 NJ 330 NJ 330 NJ VisualNovel
326 SN
326 SN 325 SN 321 NJ 320 NJ
315 NJ 311 NJ 310 NJ 310 SN 309 SN 302 SN 301 NJ 300 NJ
300 NJ 300 NJ 300 SN [sic] 294 SN ($334) is the 4th Turkish domain sale I’ve discussed in this week’s article. It appears “müdavim” means a “regular customer”. In Spanish, ($326) translates as the “I See” Foundation. There’s an arts organization in Valencia going by that name; so in this case “VEO” may be an acronym. ($310) is a surname. Based on ($315) in British Columbia, Canada, it looks like our North American neighbors have stuck with the British spelling of “harbor” rather than be neighborly – “neighbourly”?

Domain End $ At Domain End $ At 292 NJ 289 NJ 288 SN 281 SN 280 SN 280 SN
280 SN 280 NJ 278 SN 278 SN 278 SN 278 SN 275 SN 275 SN 275 SN 274 SN 271 NJ 270 NJ 270 NJ HeavenAnd
269 NJ

Apparently Dante wasn’t the only guy who’ll get to see ($269). ($280) has nothing to do with desert sand. Most likely that’d be Fred Sands, who “sold the largest independent residential real estate brokerage in California” but “won’t quit real estate”.

Last week I described “CHIPs” barely holding onto the cliff’s edge at $250. Apparently, they heard me because they defiantly haven’t let go of my charts yet! The highest of these, ($288) looks to me almost like a brandable misspelling of “cyder”; so I expect that resemblance added to the bidding. Repeating letters tend to outperform the average; so that explains at $281. Thereafter, this category ranged $209 – $280. Out of more than 60 auction results at SnapNames and NameJet, the median sale price for “CHIPs” was $251. Right now they’re hanging on, but I still think they’re about to fall off.

Domain End $ At Domain End $ At 267 NJ 265 NJ 265 SN 265 SN 265 SN 264 SN 263 SN 263 SN 263 SN 262 SN 262 SN 261 SN 261 SN 260 SN 260 SN 260 SN 260 SN 256 SN
255 SN 255 SN 254 SN 253 SN 253 SN 253 SN 253 SN 252 NJ 251 SN 251 SN 251 SN 251 NJ 250 SN 250 SN 250 SN 250 SN 250 NJ

That’s it.

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.Music domain name applicant fails in community bid

February 10, 2016Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off

A second applicant fails to get community status for .music top level domain name.

DotMusic Limited, an applicant for the .music top level domain name, has failed to pass its Community Priority Evaluation. Had it passed, the group would have automatically been awarded .music. Now an auction will be held to determine who gets to operate the domain name.

The applicant scored 10 out of 16 points (pdf) on its application. 14 are necessary to get community status.

It scored 0 out of 4 on “community establishment”, which sunk the rest of the application.

The panel determined that, although the applicant defined a community, “The community as defined in the application does not demonstrate an awareness and recognition among its members.”

It continues, “…While the Panel acknowledges that many of these individuals would share a “commonality of interest” in music, according to the AGB this is not sufficient to demonstrate the requisite awareness and recognition of a community among its members.”

The panel also found a lack of “organization” and that the community, as defined, did not pre-exist by the guidebook cut off of 2007. Yes, the individual “members” existed in 2007 but “the fact that each organization was active prior to 2007 does not mean that these organizations were active as a community prior to 2007.”

While DotMusic didn’t pass the Community Priority Evaluation, it scored much better than a rival applicant’s 3 points.

It will probably be a while before a .music top level domain name becomes a reality. Ten bucks says DotMusic Limited founder Constantine Roussos will file some sort of appeal with ICANN.

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Verisign files opening brief in appeal against .XYZ

February 10, 2016Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off

David v. Goliath battle continues in appeals court.

Verisign has filed its opening brief (pdf) with the U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit, in its dispute with new top level domain name company XYZ.

In October 2015, a federal district judge dismissed Verisign’s lawsuit against the operator of the .xyz domain name. Verisign subsequently appealed.

Verisign argues that the district judge misapplied the standards for summary judgment and misinterpreted statements of fact.

At the heart of Verisign’s overall false advertising case against .XYZ is a deal XYZ did with domain name registrar Network Solutions.

XYZ entered into a barter transaction with Network Solutions in which the registrar gave away hundreds of thousands of .xyz domain names. XYZ then purchased an equivalent amount of advertising from the registrar.

According to Verisign, XYZ used the registration of these free domain names as evidence of demand to show that .xyz was a popular top level domain name. Verisign calls the Network Solutions transaction “a scam”.

Verisign also alleges that XYZ harmed .com (and apparently .net) by saying that all of the good .com domain names are taken.

XYZ pointed to a statistic that 99% of .com registration searches fail; Verisign said this number is inflated because it includes registrars pinging the registry to try to catch dropping domain names.

According to Verisign, “Substantial evidence showed that XYZ’s advertising campaign eroded
goodwill in Verisign’s .com domain and caused substantial lost profits by diverting
.net sales to .xyz.”

Verisign also says that it spent money on corrective advertising. The actual number is redacted in its brief. (Verisign certainly has made a marketing push that .com domains are still available, although this began before .xyz came onto the market. I’ll be curious to learn what it counts as corrective advertising, and how it can prove that .net sales dropped because of .xyz.)

The district judge certainly left a couple of softballs for Verisign to pick through. For example, he said it was a fact that NPR called .xyz the next .com. The NPR report actually said it “could try to become the next .COM”.

XYZ’s response is due April 4.

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February 10, 2016Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off

Two similarly-named companies are on a collision course.

Not to be confused with GoFundMe.

Not to be confused with GoFundMe.

The owner of has filed a lawsuit against personal fundraising site over the similarity of their names and trademarks, and a bit of nuance around types of crowfunding. has a trademark related to business funding. GoFundMe is a site for personal or charitable crowdfnding.

Earlier this year, legal counsel for GoFundMe sent a cease & desist letter to regarding offering personal and charitable crowdfunding. Apparently someone copied a personal crowdfunding request from and put it on

GoFundMe requested that stop offering personal crowdfunding services.

But once started researching GoFundMe’s arguments, it found that GoFundMe was apparently getting into the business crowdfunding space, which it believes infringes on its own trademark.

I’ve always thought was a horrible domain name choice. It looks like that’s coming to a head now.

You can view the lawsuit and cease & desist letter here.

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Big companies recently registered these domain names

February 10, 2016Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off

Here are some interesting domain name registrations undertaken by large companies in recent days.

Companies made a bunch of hand registrations and domain acquisitions the past couple days. Although none of them rise to the level of writing a dedicated article about them, I think it’s worth combining them into a single article…

I don’t know what to make of the registration of It currently uses Mark Monitor’s whois privacy service, but Donald Trump‘s campaign domains are over at GoDaddy. bought The company is big on generic domains, including and continues to register dozens of domain names related to its recently-announced AWS tools Lumberyard, GameLift and GameDev, such as, and

CBS Studios registered a bunch of domains:,,,,, and I don’t watch much TV, so someone more in tune with CBS might be able to shed some light on these.

What do you make of Warner Bros‘ registration of and It also registered domains for its Fly A Little Higher movie, such as

Wonga, a UK payday loans company, registered a slew of defensive domain names along the lines of

Conair must be getting ready to release a new product. They registered,

Security company Kaspersky registered I’m surprised this domain was available for registration.

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January domain name sales in-depth

February 9, 2016Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off

Joseph Peterson takes an in-depth look at January’s domain name sales on NameJet.

January 2016 was a busy month for NameJet. Not only did the auction platform deliver its customary mix of expired domains and seller-managed inventory; it also handled the NamesCon auctions in conjunction with Right Of The Dot and (in many cases) a live auctioneer at the Las Vegas conference.

In presenting these January sales data, I’ve decided to exclude all domains associated with NamesCon, whether they were part of the live auction or not. This way, we can make apples-to-apples comparisons when looking at market performance over time. Inventory attached to the domain conference received extra exposure and included a big dose of nTLD domains. That’s perfectly fine, but such special circumstances obscure long-term trends. Better to write a separate article devoted to the NamesCon results than to mix them up with January’s regular auctions.

By excluding NamesCon, the statistics change in an interesting way:

  1. From 300 sales to 219.  NamesCon contributed 81.
  2. From $2.46 million to $1.53.  NamesCon contributed $931k.
  3. From a mean of $8.2k to $6.9k. NamesCon’s mean was $11.5k.
  4. From an upper quartile (75th percentile) of $5.0k to $4.1k. NamesCon’s upper quartile was $8.8k.
  5. Median and lower quartile (25th percentile) are $3.4k and $2.7k, respectively. That’s with and without the NamesCon data – i.e. no change. By itself, NamesCon had a median of $4.1k and lower quartile of $2.7k.

This suggests that NamesCon auctions skewed toward a higher price range than regular NameJet auctions. In other words, some mixture of extra promotion, assiduous curation, and conference high spirits translated into bigger price tags. However, this mainly affected the conference “headliners”, since the lower half of prices for NamesCon and non-NamesCon auctions look similar.

Even with NamesCon results, NameJet fell about 20% shy of its December sales. However, that previous month did set the all-time record … and by a huge margin. More importantly, even without NamesCon results, NameJet nearly tied its 2nd best month ever, coming within 2.2% of November sales. Keep in mind, NameJet never broke $1 million until last July; but it has done so every month save 1 since then.

The reason for that uplift is easy to identify: China. But China must wait. This month, I’ve put the most active categories at the bottom and the smaller, less predictable categories nearer the top.

Domain End $ Domain End $ 3050 2877 2500

Let’s start with .ORG – 1.4% by count, 0.6% by revenue. Inside NamesCon, nTLD registries featured prominently at auction. Outside NamesCon, the only TLDs to cross $2k at NameJet last month were the usual suspects: .COM, .NET, .ORG.

Domain End $ Domain End $ 7500 7055 5126 2500

Here’s a list of GEO domains. La Plagne is a ski resort; the other 2 match several U.S. cities and towns. No, your eyes do not deceive you; NameJet reported 2 different prices for – both on the same date. As a matter of fact, I reported a third price a month before, during December. Apparently that $15.4k bidder didn’t pay, however, because no sale for was included in NameJet’s December report. What then was the price: $15.4k? $7.5k? $2.5k? Until informed otherwise, I’d assume the lowest amount: $2.5k.

Domain End $ Domain End $ 37,000 3200 2400 2352

Recently, I’ve heard bloggers say that prefix domains are a thing of the past. Maybe in the future they’ll feel dated. But right now market appetite for “e” + [keyword] names is demonstrably healthy. That $37k sale ranks 7th out of 200 during January. No categories outrank it but NNN, NNNN, and a minority of LLLLs.

Domain End $ Domain End $ 7300 4601 3376 2679

Here’s your first glimpse of Chinese-style domains – a pair of short mixed-character items and a couple of numerical domains with that peculiar “HG” prefix. To date, NameJet has sold 23 “HG” numerics. At the peak of the Chinese surge last October, a single month cleared half a dozen of them above $2k. Actually, they first made the monthly reports in July 2014. And here’s a surprise: In terms of price, “HG” domains peaked earlier than you might think – April ($5.0k), July ($7.2k), and August ($4.4k) of last year.

Domain End $ Domain End $ 10,099 9000 8100 7800 6500 2420 2033

Some of these appeared already in my weekly articles on the expired domain market: Kabei, Jun Gong, Tou Bai, Pao Jia. My assumption is that they’re all Chinese Pinyin, but that may be incorrect. If you have translations to add, comments are welcome. The highest Pinyin sale has been lumped with all the 4-letter .COMs later in the article: ($18.5k) actually means “heated debate” (热议 / rè yì).

Domain End $ Domain End $ 12,522 6888 3800 2622 2526 2300 2226 2101 2010

Next up: 9 single-word domains. Three you may not recognize I’ve written about already: Sueño, Nilton, and Brasa. Interestingly, the .ORGs we saw above all belong to this single-word category as well.

Actually, the top-selling,, and .NET were all dictionary words. “BLT” ($65.5k) = a bacon-lettuce-&-tomato sandwich. ($55.5k) implies music. And “TOOT” ($31.8k) is a word I wrote about at length.

Categorization can be a bit arbitrary. We could deprive those 3 short-domain categories of their 3 star sales, assigning them to a group of single words. That would raise sales from 9 to 15 and from $34.8k to$196.0k. Thus, depending on interpretation, single-word domains amounted to 4.5% / 7.5% by count and 2.3% / 12.8% by revenue.

Domain End $ Domain End $ 65,500 60,900 27,600 25,000 23,800 23,433 23,100 21,800 19,200 18,800 17,600

Much as I enjoy the sandwich, seems to have sold at a value not based on its scrumptiousness. After all, $65.5k is comparable to the price of ($60.9k), an acronym with no such popular meaning; and the buyer is Chinese. So I’d credit the category. Altogether, domains comprise 5.5% by count but 17.9% by weight.

Beneath that top pair, the remaining 9 domains all contain either a vowel or a “V” – letters widely understood to lower the market value in China. While those “bad” letters do account for the steep drop-off in price under $60.9k, we’re left with something unexplained. Why is the price range among “non-CHIP” (CHInese Premium) LLLs so wide? Normally, China-favored categories sell at prices tightly clustered around a recognized market price. By comparison, $17.6k – $27.6k is an enormous spread.

I can offer 3 hypotheses:

  1. Market uncertainty leading to erratic buyer behavior.
  2. Hidden criteria that really do justify spending $10k more or less.
  3. Declining prices during the month of January.

There is some evidence to support the third hypothesis. The first 3 non-CHIP domains to sell during January averaged $24.7k, but the next half dozen averaged only $21.0k. A least-squares regression suggests that (beneath the noise) prices were dropping $189 per day – a rate of $5.9k per month – during this period. Granted, it’s a small data set; and the correlation is fairly weak (R = -0.452). But the decline is plainly visible, whether or not it holds true generally or continues.

Many pundits with money at stake will tell you that the Chinese surge isn’t over, that this market sector will grow later in 2016. Perhaps. Neither they nor I know the future. But we ought to look for facts about the present. During December, 19 non-CHIP domains sold between $24.0k and $55.6k. Their median then was $33.3k. A month later, January’s median dropped $10.2k to $23.1k. Let’s repeat: Prices dropped by 1/3 in a single month.

A theory I run across regularly says we’re seeing a lull in sales due to the Chinese New Year (February 8). Optimists proclaim that the Chinese surge will resume once that event (with its celebrations and symbolism) is out of the way. Yet that theory fails to explain 2 months of declining prices.

That plot shows non-CHIP sales for December plus January. If we remove the single $55.6k outlier ( = “Australian Dollar”), then we see prices dropping at a rate of $237 per day ($7229 per month) over the course of 2 months. This 2-month data set gives us more confidence (R = −0.633). Does Chinese spending always decline steadily for 9 weeks prior to the Chinese New Year?

Domain End $ Domain End $ 169,000 45,700 41,200 39,210 34,501 18,000 8600 5900 3519 3400 2333

NameJet’s top auction during January was a 3-digit .COM. Considering NNNs sometimes clear $800k, that $169k sale – big as it is – isn’t jaw dropping. In general, prices for numerical domains follow the number of digits. Yet there are 2 instances of leapfrogging in the chart above: (1) 5N ($34.5k) > 4N ($18.0k); and (2) 7N ($3.5k) > 6N ($3.4k / $2.3k). Repeating patterns are the rationale.

It’s remarkable that domains containing the unlucky “4” rank 1st, 3rd, and 6th. This isn’t strictly chance. It’s seller behavior. Look back at the chart. Why do 9/11 of the domains contain vowels or “V”? Overall, 45.5% of LLLs are CHIPs; yet we see that best-selling group appearing as just 18.2% of NameJet’s top results!

This vanishing-CHIP trend began during December when 19/23 of LLLs contained “bad” letters. So it’s quite real. Compare that to January 2015, a year prior. That month also saw 23 sales; but back then 39% were CHIPs – matching the broad 45% we’d expect.

I could explain this discrepancy in 2 ways:

  1. Sellers have already sold their best domains to China. If they now have few domains left to sell, then NameJet will now disproportionately find itself selling the “dregs”.
  2. While prices remain near the 2015 high, sellers are liquidating some of their Chinese-style assets, beginning with the weakest subcategories. However optimistic their predictions, actions speak louder than words.

If you have another explanation for the prevalence of “4”, vowels, and “V”, then I’d be happy to hear it.

Domain End $ Domain End $ 10,746 7600 7200 5756 4957 4900 4712 Cable
4100 3450 3315 3100 United
3100 3000 2988 2967 2655 2650 2611 2601 Korean
2408 2351 2320 2300 2200 2000
2000 2000

Among these 28 multi-word domains, you’ll see a mixture of

  • Invented “brandables” –,,
  • “Veristic” phrases –,, KoreanRestaurants
  • Colloquial phrases long used already –,

Some of the brandables can act as upgrades for existing brands, which tends to raise the price. In this regard, I’ve already written about several: BlueSquare, ChinaTech, IsItDown, etc.

It’s worth noting that NameJet sold more multi-word domains during January than and numerical domains combined: 14% by count if only 6.7% by weight.

Domain End $ Domain End $ 31,805 18,500 7500 5800 5101 4700 4200 4195 3955 3900 3399 3333 3300 3209 3200 3100 3060 2950 2700 2671 2622 2601 2600 2500 2500 2500 2422 2400 2320 2319 2301 2290 2260 2238 2210 2201 2200 2150 2124 2119 2100 2100 2100 2100 2098 2085 2050 2010 2010

Aside from numerical domains, no category is more closely associated with the Chinese surge than LLLLs, for which the word “CHIP” was coined. During January, LLLL .COMs were the second biggest category – 24.5% by count. Yet they contributed only 11.9% of revenue.

However, the highest 2 sales don’t necessarily belong here. “Toot” is an English dictionary word, and is Chinese Pinyin. (See above.) They’re not alone: Other words such as “begs” and “fais” can be found in the chart. Merely removing the top 2, however, reduces this category’s revenue contribution to 8.5%. In that case, their mean price is 1/3 NameJet’s mean price overall.

Here’s a summary:

Statistic Dec 2015 Jan 2015
 Sold: LLLL .COMs  142  49
 Sold: CHIPs  107  34
 Sold: Non-CHIPs  35  13
 Mean: CHIPs  $3004  $2441
 Mean: Non-CHIPs  $7668  $7477
 Median: CHIPs  $2600  $2238
 Median: Non-CHIPs  $3200  $4200
 % CHIP by Count  75.4%  69.4%
 % CHIP by Weight  54.5%  46.1%

Let me emphasize: These are not the real median and mean prices within today’s market. Remember, nothing below $2k is included in NameJet’s monthly reports. Lately we’re seeing many (perhaps most) CHIPs selling beneath $2k. Yet here we’re looking at averages of whatever rises above that threshold. By definition, these averages are always at least $2k. And they’re biased higher than reality. That upward bias will become more pronounced as the real average slips farther beneath $2k. Therefore, because of declining prices, January sees more upward bias than December did. And this effect especially distorts the median. So January’s real median price for CHIPs is quite a bit lower.

Here’s what you can see:

  1. The number of LLLLs / CHIPs / non-CHIPs selling above $2k has dropped by a factor of 3 in a single month.
  2. At the high end, non-CHIPs are not seeing any decline in prices. January’s mean resembles December’s, and its median actually increased.
  3. CHIP prices fell by 15-20% based even on the shrinking number of sales that do clear $2k. If sales beneath $2k were included, a more severe decline in prices would be observed.
  4. At the high end, non-CHIPs continue to outperform CHIPs in terms of median, mean, and max sale.
  5. If present trends continue, CHIPs will constitute a smaller percentage of sales at NameJet. Also, LLLLs themselves will represent a smaller slice of the pie.

Earlier in this article, I looked at non-CHIP 3-letter .COMs and showed 2 months of declining value. Why non-CHIPs? Because January gave us 9 sales in that area but only 2 with Chinese premium letters. No point doing linear regression on 2 data points!

Still, it can be argued with some justice that we ought to examine CHIPs, since they’re the letters China actually prefers. Fair enough! Here are 2 months of declining prices in 4-letter CHIPs. Looking at that scatter plot, you’ll notice 3 high-priced outliers. That’s because December sold a trio of triple repeaters:,, It would be unfair to make comparisons while those high sales are present in December but lacking in January. Setting them aside, the decline is less steep but far easier to see.

Even with so many sales submerged beneath that $2k surface, the upper part of the ice berg has – for 2 months now – been visibly sinking. CHIPs have been losing value at a rate of $15.52 per day ($473 per month). If you were to draw a line along the upper edge of that scatter plot, you’d see a much steeper downward trajectory – roughly $1000 per month. Likewise, if sub-$2k sales were visible, we’d see most of them during January not December; and that would tilt the regression line more sharply.

Domain End $ Domain End $ 55,500 4400 4300 4300 4200 4200 4100 4100 4009 3866 3810 3800 3800 3800 3800 3800 3800 3700 3700 3700 3700 3700 3660 3600 3600 3600 3600 3577 3510 3502 3500 3500 3500 3500 3500 3500 3500 3500 3500 3500 3500 3500 3500 3500 3420 3411 3401 3400 3400 3400 3390 3390 3388 3377 3377 3376 3360 3350 3350 3350 3319 3312 3310 3300 3300 3300 3300 3300 3300 3250 3250 3250 3250 3250 3243 3220 3210 3210 3202 3202 3200 3200 3200 3110 3100 3100 3010 3000 3000 2350

During the record month of December, 100 .NET domains amounted to 26.1% by count. NameJet sold less overall during January, making its 90 .NET items proportionally much more important. A staggering 40.9% of domains belonged to this TLD.

Price-wise, it seems every short Chinese category has been slipping; so this 40.9% category only contributed 23.9% of revenue. That’s slightly higher than December’s 19.9% … but with double representation.

By far the highest price was $55.5k for Not only was it the only 2-letter item, it’s a word with commercial relevance. No wonder it came in 13 times higher than the runner up! Of the remaining 89 items, all but the very lowest-priced – – are vowelless, “V”-less, “CHIPs”.

Are LLL .NETs the late bloomers of the Chinese surge? For the first 9 months of 2015, NameJet sold a meager 1-5 .NETs per month, averaging just 3. Then this category suddenly cleared the $2k reporting threshold with 22 sales in October, 48 in November, 100 in December, and now 90 during the first month of 2016.

In reality, this category began its upward price climb much earlier during 2015, underneath the $2k threshold. And it is now experiencing the market downturn along with other Chinese categories. In this raw scatter plot of CHIPs for the past 2 months, you’ll see 1 conspicuous outlier (an $11.2k sale from December). Removing it softens the slope, but you can still see we’re on the downhill.

Even so, that’s a much slower rate of decline than we’re seeing with other Chinese categories. Losing $130 per month from a median value of $3.5k is far better than losing more than $473 per month from a median value of less than $2.2k.

Perhaps because seems like a “late bloomer”, having only lately crossed the $2k and then $3k threshold, buyer optimism remains higher for this category than for others. It’s within the budgetof those who can’t afford 3-letter .COMs; and it hasn’t been observed plummeting in value as fast as 3-letter non-CHIPs or 4-letter CHIPs, the comparably priced alternative.

Whatever the reason, Chinese domain categories don’t rise and fall in unison. Some lead; some lag. For the time being, lags. In the heat of a bear market, some will view assets that exhibit lagging behavior as a safe haven. They don’t need to be right. In the short term, that perception becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

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Donuts signs piracy deal with MPAA

February 9, 2016Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off

Agreement says Donuts will investigate piracy claims as a last resort.

mpaaNew top level domain name company Donuts has inked a deal with Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) in which Donuts will investigate cases of large-scale piracy on the domain names it operates.

The deal isn’t a rapid takedown sort of agreement. It only says that the MPAA will be a “Trusted Notifier” of movie piracy sites. If the MPAA gets no resolution from working with a domain name registrar and hosting company to take down a piracy site, Donuts will agree to investigate. It won’t shut a site down right away. Instead, it will seek more evidence. Then, Donuts has the option of suspending the domain name.

I’m not surprised Donuts entered into a friendly deal with the MPAA. Donuts operates the .movie domain name, and has worked with studios to get them to use .movie domain names instead of .com. Signing an anti-piracy deal with the MPAA will make these studios happy.

Donuts operates nearly 200 top level domain names. In addition to .movie, it also runs .theater (not to be confused with .theatre, which is operated by XYZ).

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What domain names to buy this week

February 8, 2016Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off

Here are some good domain names you can order this week.

Back in the day, I did posts about what upcoming expired domain names to backorder. I haven’t done these in a while, but my recent post about selling domains on NameJet sent about 400 clicks to NameJet in 24 hours. That, along with some requests, made me think there’s some value to this.

For example, did you know that was recently on a Sedo auction? I doubt it. Only three people bid in the auction.

With that in mind, I’m going to test bringing attention to domain names on expired and marketplace sites with auctions ending during the week. Hopefully these are ones you overlooked Depending on feedback, I’ll continue doing posts like this.

All of the domains on this list are aged and alternative versions of the .com have been registered at some point.

(Please see my disclosure about trademarks below).

SnapNames – I’m a fan of “your” domains like this. – security services are a big business. A good geo domain. – great brandability for a store selling whimsical gifts. – it’s timely.

NameJet – a great brandable name for a dog site. – remember when foreclosures were all the rage? That time will come again. A 16-year-old domain. – No one fixes broken TVs anymore, right? Guess again. 17-year-old domain, with many registered extensions. – this is another name that might become less popular overtime as “notebook” becomes an outdated computer term, but it’s worth ordering at a good price. – closet organization is a huge business. – Good play on the word “event”.

GoDaddy – There are so many web design tools out there now. Create a site aggregating them all, and join their affiliate programs. – great brandable for a coupon site. – I like this one for a health blog, weight loss program or recipe site. Registered in 1998. – great mortgage domain name. – it has a negative connotation, but there’s some brandable value in this one. – Hmmm, domain name consulting? – For a website valuation tool. – one of the most popular websites for parents in Austin highlights all of the upcoming events for kids and families. This domain isn’t related to that site but could be used for something similar. Reg’d 17 years ago. – lots of opportunity with the current healthcare requirements in the United States.

Disclaimer: I have not run trademark checks on any of these domain names. Buyers should consider doing so before placing a backorder.

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