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CrowdSignal is PollDaddy’s new name

October 18, 2018Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off on CrowdSignal is PollDaddy’s new name

The CrowdSignal mystery is solved.

Automattic’s PollDaddy is being rebranded as CrowdSignal.

Last week I wrote about how Automattic, the company behind WordPress, was getting ready to launch a new polling/survey service called CrowdSignal.

That was sort of right. The company will indeed soon have a service called CrowdSignal but it turns out that it’s a rebranding of the company’s PollDaddy service.

The rebrand will occur on Monday. It doesn’t sound like there will be any major changes; just the rebranding and some small cosmetic changes.

Existing PollDaddy.com URLs will forward to CrowdSignal.com URLs, although some users might need to whitelist domains used with the service.

© DomainNameWire.com 2018. This is copyrighted content. Domain Name Wire full-text RSS feeds are made available for personal use only, and may not be published on any site without permission. If you see this message on a website, contact copyright (at) domainnamewire.com. Latest domain news at DNW.com: Domain Name Wire.

11 end user domain name sales up to $250k

October 18, 2018Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off on 11 end user domain name sales up to $250k

A Romanian Casino, a Space Engineering firm and a language app all bought domain names last week.

It was the week of “2” last week with the top sales at Sedo across all categories (.com, ccTLD and “other”) repeating this digit within their sales prices. And even more unusual was a .RO (Romania) ccTLD purchase beating out the other sales and taking top honors with its €220K ($250k USD) price tag.

Take a look at some of the end user sales at Sedo this past week, and you can view previous weeks’ lists here.

Casino.ro €220,000 – Given the price, you can expect this Romanian ccTLD to be developed by what would qualify as an end user.

Jobster.com $200,000 – Jobster was an online recruiting business that didn’t pan out. Someone is rebirthing it. The site says, “Jobster.com Soon to be unleashed again, The jobster.com team”.

Path.net $22,000 – The top sale for the “other” category was purchased by a technology firm offering internet analytics and uptime monitoring services.

Earth.co $15,000 – A travel media company called Earth is using this domain for a travel website.

Trope.com $10,000 – Forwards to TropeReader.com, a new publishing platform who will produce films, books & periodicals on a variety of subjects annually.

Capeesh.com $8,600 – A cleverly-branded company that offers language courses. I wonder if people know how to spell this word.

PoianaBrasov.ro $5,632 – Another .RO purchase – this time it’s for Poiana Brasov, the “largest and most famous mountain resort in Romania”, also voted the most accessible ski resort in Europe by telegraph.co.uk.

EliteSA.com $5,000 – The SA in this domain refers to “Surgical Associates”, a company out of Houston providing development and management services for surgery center operations.

EPay.me $5,000 – A payment processing company run by the Narula Institute of Technology, which is made up by a group of academic institutions.

Enspace.com €2,900 – Enspace has some rather complex terminology on its page…something about satellites and ion propulsion. I’m sure rocket scientists will understand what the company does.

Soar.tech $2,399 – A Scottish tech company specializing in Apps, Web Applications, and Enterprise Scale Software Systems bought this domain name. This name has good potential for an upcoming campaign or product launch, or for a client.

© DomainNameWire.com 2018. This is copyrighted content. Domain Name Wire full-text RSS feeds are made available for personal use only, and may not be published on any site without permission. If you see this message on a website, contact copyright (at) domainnamewire.com. Latest domain news at DNW.com: Domain Name Wire.

Verisign files intriguing domain backorder patents

October 18, 2018Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off on Verisign files intriguing domain backorder patents

Patent describes way to sell future rights to domain names through “encoding domains.”

Verisign (NASDAQ: VRSN) has filed two patents related to buying future rights to domain names for if they become available. The process is rather unique and it makes me wonder what Verisign (which manages the .com registry) has up its sleeve.

Only one of the patent applications has been published so far. Application number 15/488984 for “Domain Name Registration Reservation Through the Use of Encoding Domain Names” was filed on April 17, 2017 and published today (pdf). The application notes that an application for “Domain Name Registration Reservation Through the Use of Encoding Domain Names for Pools” was filed at the same time, but it has not been published.

The published application describes a system for backordering domain names should they become available due to a certain event, such as their expiration on a certain date or the current domain owner relinquishing the domain registration.

This would be accomplished by registering an “encoding domain”. This encoding domain might have information about the domain right purchased or refer to a database that manages the rights. The rights could be to a specific domain name or to a pool of domain names. Here are two examples from the application:

For example, an encoding domain name that reserves a right to register example.com upon its deletion on Mar. 28, 2017 may be written as, for example, “dn–example-20170328.com”

An encoding domain name that reserves a first-priority right to select and register any domain name deleted on Mar. 26, 2017 may be written as, for example, “dp–20170326-1.com

These rights could potentially be transferred like other domains. For example, if I had the first right to register example.com if it expires, I could sell and transfer that right to someone else by merely transferring the encoding domain to them.

There could also be multiple ranked rights to the same domain. Someone could have the second right to register example.com if the first person does not exercise her option.

This is an intriguing idea but begs a lot of questions. What is Verisign, which controls the lucrative .com contract, up to?

I can think of a lot of things. The answer might also be disclosed in the other patent application that hasn’t been published yet.

1. Verisign wants to insert itself into the current expiration game to capture some of the profit. This would be the most controversial and surely face regulatory challenges.

2. It wants to bring order to the existing expiration process. Instead of having all the registries ping it to capture deleted domains, it could grant each registrar a set number of encoded domains for each day, giving them ranked rights to domains that expire that day. Verisign has been investigating ways to change the drop process.

3. It could be an idea stemming from new top level domains. The application mentions that new top level domains have pools or reserved domains that could be allocated. It could also be a way to allocate ranked selection of domains on the day the top level domain is released.

(While the encoded domain examples above use .com domains, the patent explains that the encoded domains can be in a different TLD than the one for which rights are granted. This might be required when a new TLD hasn’t launched yet.)

4. The idea could apply to the domain aftermarket. Someone could register an encoding domain for a set price for a domain name, and then the domain owner could be contacted asking if they want to relinquish their right to the domain for a certain price. If they do, the encoding domain right is exercised.

Certain aspects of this patent are certainly intriguing but should also cause concern for registrars, domain investors and dropcatching companies.

I had another thought about Verisign’s overall patent strategy while reading through this patent application. In 2013, Verisign discussed monetizing its patent portfolio. It has dropped that discussion (at least publicly). It would be a huge risk for Verisign to go after other registries while it works to hold onto its .com contract.

But…once is clears the Cooperative Agreement with the NTIA, one option would be to sell its portfolio to a group that grants a license back to it. That way Verisign can continue operating, get a profit from selling the patents, and be arm’s-length from any actions the buyer takes.

© DomainNameWire.com 2018. This is copyrighted content. Domain Name Wire full-text RSS feeds are made available for personal use only, and may not be published on any site without permission. If you see this message on a website, contact copyright (at) domainnamewire.com. Latest domain news at DNW.com: Domain Name Wire.

Domain Capital goes after Prince’s estate for reverse domain name hijacking

October 18, 2018Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off on Domain Capital goes after Prince’s estate for reverse domain name hijacking

Musician’s estate sued financing company over Prince.com domain name. Domain Capital is fighting back.

Domain name financing company Domain Capital has responded (pdf) to a cybersquatting lawsuit brought by the Estate of Prince Rogers Nelson. That’s the musician Prince, who later changed his stage name to a symbol.

The estate sued Domain Capital over its ownership of the Prince.com domain name, claiming it was cybersquatting.

Domain Capital loaned money to the previous owner of Prince.com. That owner defaulted and Domain Capital took over the name.

Of course, it’s silly for any one entity to claim exclusive rights to the dictionary word “Prince”, and Domain Capital calls out the estate in its response. The financing company is asking for the estate’s trademark for Prince to be canceled and is also asking for penalties under reverse domain name hijacking.

Domain Capital is represented by Jason Schaeffer of ESQwire.com.

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Jon Nevett leaves Donuts

October 17, 2018Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off on Jon Nevett leaves Donuts

Nevett completes co-founder exodus from Donuts.

Donuts co-founder Jon Nevett has stepped down from the company but will remain an advisor.

Jon Nevett, one of four co-founders of top level domain name Donuts, has stepped down. He was the last remaining founder in a full-time role at the company. He will remain an advisor to the company.

Nevett ran policy for the company and helped it navigate the new top level domain application, objection and contention set settlement process.

Abry Partners acquired Donuts last month, creating a liquidity event for some shareholders. Since then, the company announced that it hired Akram Atallah from ICANN to be its new CEO. I expect there will be some more management shifts at the company in the coming months.

In the case of Nevett, he’s spent the last eight years handling policy for the company. He’s been working on new top level domains for about a decade.

Should he choose to stay in the domain industry, there are plenty of domain companies in his backyard in the Washington D.C. area.

© DomainNameWire.com 2018. This is copyrighted content. Domain Name Wire full-text RSS feeds are made available for personal use only, and may not be published on any site without permission. If you see this message on a website, contact copyright (at) domainnamewire.com. Latest domain news at DNW.com: Domain Name Wire.

How to use GoDaddy appraisals to your advantage

October 17, 2018Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off on How to use GoDaddy appraisals to your advantage

Here’s how to handle GoDaddy valuations in domain transactions.

GoDaddy’s domain appraisals are very controversial. Some people love them, some hate them. They’ve been both helpful and hurtful to my negotiations but I think you can turn them around to your advantage.

On the buy side, the GoDaddy appraisals helped me on a recent acquisition of two domains. In order to justify his price, the seller pointed to GoDaddy’s appraisals and asked a number in the same ballpark. The price was fair for how I intended to use the domains and I closed on the deal.

The sell side can be a bit trickier. When someone points you to a lower GoDaddy valuation, that’s when you need to explain the limits of an automated system.

Elliot Silver recently showed a great way to paint the picture for buyers. GoDaddy asks for higher prices on many of its domains than the GoValue. That says a lot.

There are other powerful ways to use automated appraisals, and I believe GoDaddy’s tool has been good for the industry. You just need to think about how to use it to your advantage.

© DomainNameWire.com 2018. This is copyrighted content. Domain Name Wire full-text RSS feeds are made available for personal use only, and may not be published on any site without permission. If you see this message on a website, contact copyright (at) domainnamewire.com. Latest domain news at DNW.com: Domain Name Wire.

My three most recent domain sales

October 17, 2018Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off on My three most recent domain sales

They’re all a little bit different.

I mostly invest in domain names that sell in the sub-$10,000 range. There are people who are very successful at buying domains for five figures and selling them for six or more. That’s not my game, and I suspect that’s the case with most domain investors. (I’m in awe of some of the risks people take and how they work hard to make the risks pay off.)

Given that most investors don’t have a lot of six-figure domains to sell, I thought I’d run through the three domain sales I’ve made over the past three weeks. Three is a small sample size, but I think these anecdotal data points might be interesting and more typical of the experiences readers have had.

As a general practice, I don’t say what domains I sold out of respect to the buyers. I’m comfortable mentioning the price without the domain.

Sale 1: A three-word .com domain.

I acquired this domain as a closeout on GoDaddy Auctions in March of this year. It was originally registered in 2003. I had a buy now price of $7,275 on the domain at Afternic. A Canadia company bought it through the network and it required a manual transfer.

Sale 2: A .Work domain name

I registered about a dozen .work domain names when they first became available in early 2015. They only cost about $5 to register and renew so I figured it was worth the risk. I thought I had sold one .work name last year through Afternic but the buyer never paid. I had a $995 buy now price on another .work domain and it sold through Afternic this month. It sold through the network and required a manual transfer. To date, my only new TLD sales are .cloud and .work, and none for more than $2,000.

Sale 3: A domain I hand registered in 2005.

My third sale was for a domain I hand registered in 2005. This inquiry came directly via email from someone who looked me up in Whois. (That’s one of the reasons I like having domains at GoDaddy since you can make your Whois public.) We negotiated over a couple of days and settled on $4,000. The person chose to wire the money to me directly rather than use an escrow service.

Of course, during this time I have also rejected offers. Some of them were crazy low and others were close, but not quite close enough.

© DomainNameWire.com 2018. This is copyrighted content. Domain Name Wire full-text RSS feeds are made available for personal use only, and may not be published on any site without permission. If you see this message on a website, contact copyright (at) domainnamewire.com. Latest domain news at DNW.com: Domain Name Wire.

DigitalTown sells Appointment.com

October 16, 2018Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off on DigitalTown sells Appointment.com

Company sold Appointment.com business earlier this month to unknown buyer.

DigitalTown sold Appointment.com earlier this month.

DigitalTown (OTC: DGTW) has sold its Appointment.com business.

The company disclosed the deal in its 10-Q filed yesterday. The SEC filing reveals little information about the transaction that occurred subsequent to quarter end:

“On October 9 2018, the Company sold its appointment.com division to an arms length third party.”

The domain was transferred to GoDaddy and has Whois privacy.

The 10-Q also provides details on how an investment the company received in May has fallen as cryptocurrencies have faced headwinds.

Catena Fund One, LP invested $1.659 million in the company in May in the form of 1.05 million RChain Coins (RHOC), which were valued at $1.58 USD. The company immediately started selling these coins for cash, but the price of RHOC started falling precipitously. In the second quarter of this year, the company sold what it had left for $518,181, which was $580,435 lower than the value when the cryptocurrency was received.

The move ended up being smart, though: RHOC currently trades for less than 20 cents.

© DomainNameWire.com 2018. This is copyrighted content. Domain Name Wire full-text RSS feeds are made available for personal use only, and may not be published on any site without permission. If you see this message on a website, contact copyright (at) domainnamewire.com. Latest domain news at DNW.com: Domain Name Wire.

Donuts loses appeal in .Web case

October 16, 2018Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off on Donuts loses appeal in .Web case

Court of Appeals agrees that covenant not to sue is valid.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth District has ruled against top level domain name company Donuts over the .Web domain name.

Donuts was one of the applicants for the .web domain name. Nu Dot Co won the auction for $135 million after Verisign (NASDAQ: VRSN) struck a deal with it to transfer the ICANN agreement for .web to it after the auction.

Donuts was upset that Nu Dot Co wouldn’t participate in a private auction for the domain name. Instead, Nu Dot Co pushed it to an ICANN “auction of last resort”. Had the auction been private, Donuts would have received about a $22.5 million payoff for losing.

Donuts went through ICANN’s normal appeals channels. When that failed, it sued ICANN in District court. The judge tossed out the suit because the application for new TLDs included a clause that the applicants would not sue ICANN. Donuts argued that this agreement not to sue is invalid.

The Appeals Court agreed with the lower court that the covenant not to sue was valid (pdf) in a decision published yesterday.

.Web still doesn’t have a green light, however. Afilias was the runner-up in the .Web auction and it is fighting the auction result through ICANN’s appeal processes.

While Donuts was upset about missing out on a payday by losing the auction, Afilias was upset that it didn’t win. Regardless of the outcome, both may benefit and get some satisfaction out of the delay they are causing Verisign. After all, Verisign did all it could to delay the launch of new top level domain names.

It will be interesting to see if Donuts’ strategy around .web changes when Akram Atallah takes over as CEO. Either way, Donuts’ fight against .web might be over. It will probably just hand the baton off to Afilias.

 

 

© DomainNameWire.com 2018. This is copyrighted content. Domain Name Wire full-text RSS feeds are made available for personal use only, and may not be published on any site without permission. If you see this message on a website, contact copyright (at) domainnamewire.com. Latest domain news at DNW.com: Domain Name Wire.

BidPal hit for reverse domain name hijacking

October 16, 2018Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off on BidPal hit for reverse domain name hijacking

Company with a history of cybersquatting claims is found to have filed a case in abuse of the UDRP.

OneCause’s parent company has been found guilty of reverse domain name hijacking.

BidPal, Inc., a company that helps charities raise money under the name OneCause, has been found to have engaged in reverse domain name hijacking over the domain name OneCause.org. The company has a history with UDRP and cybersquatting challenges.

The company lost a UDRP it filed in 2012 to get the domain name BidPal.com. It then hired a new layer and filed a federal lawsuit in 2014 in another effort to get the domain. That suit was settled  and BidPal got the domain name.

Then, late last year the company filed a UDRP to get the domain name OneCause.com. The case was withdrawn and it appears the parties settled as BidPal now uses OneCause.com.

This year it filed a UDRP against OneCause.org, and it was for this case that the company was found to have filed the case in abuse of the policy.

The current domain owner registered the domain in 1999. BidPal didn’t file for a trademark until this year. It also inquired about buying the domain first. In other words, it was a classic Plan B reverse domain name hijacking case.

Panelist Fernando Triana wrote:

In the present case, the disputed domain name was registered in 1999, for Respondent to express to storage his documents, use the email service and maintain a blog, which was described to be his “one cause”.

Complainant registered its trademark in 2018 before the USPTO, and before the first use of the trademark, Complainant offered Respondent to buy the disputed domain name, thus, demonstrating knowledge of the previous existence of the disputed domain name.

Furthermore, Complainant failed to file any evidence concerning lack of rights or legitimate interest and bad faith.

Moreover, Complainant tried to confuse the Panel regarding Respondent’s bad faith, as the Complaint asserted that Respondent is profiting from Complainant’s reputation, which is not evidenced and probably nonexistent as the trademark ONECAUSE was recently registered.

This makes me wonder what the circumstances of the OneCause.com case were and what the settlement was.

© DomainNameWire.com 2018. This is copyrighted content. Domain Name Wire full-text RSS feeds are made available for personal use only, and may not be published on any site without permission. If you see this message on a website, contact copyright (at) domainnamewire.com. Latest domain news at DNW.com: Domain Name Wire.