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A great resource for new top level domain name data

May 25, 2017Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off on A great resource for new top level domain name data

Don’t overlook this new top level domain stats site.

This blog and many others in the domain name industry often cite nTLDstats.com for new TLD metrics. It’s a great service, but you should also be aware of NameStat.org.

I particularly like NameStat’s top level domain dashboards. Here are some key metrics on these snapshots that are worth reviewing:

  • Average registration term
  • % of domains using Whois privacy
  • Daily data for top country and registrar (in addition to total data for these metrics)
  • Launch date for the TLD

There are two additional sections that are useful for domain name investors:

  • List of registrars with the lowest prices for new registrations, renewals and transfers
  • Top public domain name sales in the extension

Here’s an example TLD profile from the site for .XYZ.



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Accepting PayPal for domains makes sense but there are risks

May 25, 2017Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off on Accepting PayPal for domains makes sense but there are risks

There’s no seller protection for domains but it makes the buyer more comfortable.

I saw that Efty has added the option to accept PayPal payments for domain names listed on its platform. I can see how this could boost sales; PayPal is trusted and much more recognizable to the general population than an escrow service like Escrow.com and Payoneer.

In a blog post, Efty wrote:

At Efty we do recommend using a licensed escrow integration partner such as Escrow.com or Payoneer Escrow for higher priced domain names but we also understand there are benefits of adding PayPal buy-it-now buttons for your lower priced inventory such as receiving instant payment for your domain name and allowing buyers to pay for your domain name in a matter of seconds instead of going trough the often longer, escrow process.

I agree with this.

Keep in mind that PayPal protects buyers of intangible goods like domain names but not sellers. So you’re taking some risk when you sell a domain with PayPal.

That said, it might be worth taking that risk for lower priced domains. I’ve sold domains and accepted PayPal when the amount of money was low enough that I wouldn’t lose sleep over it and when there was nothing suspicious about the buyer.

In the case of Efty, buyers will be able to instantly pay, so you can’t do due diligence ahead of time. Still, I think accepting PayPal could push a potential buyer over the edge. It makes them more comfortable.

Bottom line: I think it’s wise to accept PayPal for low-dollar transactions. You just need to decide what that threshold is for you.



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SOG.com domain name saved in UDRP

May 24, 2017Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off on SOG.com domain name saved in UDRP

Domain owner acquired it as an investment ten years ago.

A three-member National Arbitration Forum panel has ruled in favor of the domain name owner in a dispute over the domain SOG.com.

SOG Specialty Knives and Tools, LLC, which uses the domain name SOGKnives.com, filed the dispute.

The owner of the domain name purchased it as an investment ten years ago for $33,146.85. It was one of many three-letter domains he bought as an investment at the time.

As you can imagine, a number of people have inquired about buying the domain name over the years. In fact, the domain owner says that a marketing director of the complainant inquired about buying the domain name shortly after the current owner bought it.

The panel wrote:

Speculating in and trading in generic domain names can be a perfectly permissible and bona fide use under the Policy.

and

Especially given that the Domain Name is composed solely of a common three-letter combination, absent direct proof that the generic Domain Name was registered solely for the purpose of profiting from Complainant’s trademark rights, there can be no finding of bad faith registration and use.

For some reason, the panel did not consider reverse domain name hijacking.

Patchen M. Haggerty of Perkins Coie LLP represented the complainant. Zak Muscovitch represented the domain name owner.



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An international week of end user domain name sales

May 24, 2017Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off on An international week of end user domain name sales

Lots of ccTLD sales to end users over the past week.

More than half of the end user domain names sales I uncovered at Sedo over the past week were country code domain names. These include two companies buying three-letter .co.uk domain names, a German-language product name, and a company picking up ccTLDs that match its brand.

Sedo has always dominated the market for international domain name sales. The company has expertise in many markets and languages; you hear lots of accents when you visit its U.S. office.

Here’s the list of end user sales I uncovered:

(You can view previous lists like this here.)

GrowBox.de €10,000 and Growbox.it €2,850 – The domain were purchased by EUGrowBox, which manufactures and indoor plant growing system.

SayYestoTheDress.com $10,000 – A five-word, five-figure domain name sale? You betcha! A wedding website is coming soon.

BrawlStars.com $6,500 – The buyer is using Whois privacy. Perhaps it’s this roller derby team? Sounds like a reality show name.

AAS.co.uk £5,900 – It must be nice to get three-letter country codes for an affordable price. A landscaping business AA Sherriff & Sons bought the domain.

PFK.co.uk £4,800 – Penrith Farmers’ & Kidd’s PLC is a UK real estate firm.

Mikrofaser.de €3,250- This translates to Microfiber. It now forwards to a store selling products made of microfiber.

Milicon.com $2,600 – A construction company that uses Milicon.us bought the matching .com.

SwissGames.com €2,500 and SwissGames.ch 2,500 EUR – Pro Helvetia is a group that supports and disseminates Swiss arts and culture, The Whois record shows #SwissGames – Pro Helvetia as the registrant organization.

Chiropraticiens.com $2,495 – Centre Chiro-Express Inc. is a chiropractor group.

Invasys.com $2,488 – Invasys, a.s. is a Czech technology company.

CIAO.ca $2,200 – Ciao is an IT company in Quebec.

Flash.ca $2,000 – FlashPay is a Canadian company that helps transfer money between China and Canada.



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Comcast provides a lesson on firing off C&D letters over domain names

May 24, 2017Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off on Comcast provides a lesson on firing off C&D letters over domain names

Companies should think hard before firing off cease & desist letters.

Comcast is getting dragged through the mud for sending a cease & desist letter to the owner of a domain name that has “comcast” in it, and there’s a lesson for brand owners here.

One of Comcast’s intellectual property protection vendors, LookingGlass, sent cease & desist letters to the registrant of Comcastroturf.com claiming cybersquatting.

The domain name was registered by Fight for the Future, a pro-net neutrality group. The domain was registered for a site to shed light on alleged astroturfing and comment spamming to the FCC about net neutrality.

Comcast said it is no longer going to pursue its cybersquatting claim against the domain name.

Once you unpack the case, you can see how this happened.

LookingGlass sent its first cease & desist letter a few days after the domain was registered this month. That was before the domain name resolved to a website, so LookingGlass didn’t know the domain name would be used for something that would be considered a free speech use of the domain.

The domain name was registered with Whois privacy, so LookingGlass couldn’t determine who owned the domain, either.

So it’s not quite as bad as it looks.

However, this case shows the problem with firing off cease & desist letters based on triggers like registrations that contain a brand. If LookingGlass was paying attention, it should have noticed the unique domain name and thought about what it could be used for. A domain that with the term “astroturf” in it should have clued them into what the domain could be used for.

I see a lot of companies use automated means of detecting potential cybersquatting issues. That’s necessary and important for stopping phishing. But I also see them use automated means to send out cease & desist letters without fully evaluating each case. That’s bad.



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UDRPSearch owner wins UDRP, court case still pending

May 24, 2017Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off on UDRPSearch owner wins UDRP, court case still pending

Panel rules against company that claimed FastTrak.com was cybersquatting against it.

A World Intellectual Property Organization panelist has ruled in favor of Virtual Point in a UDRP over the domain name FastTrak.com. Virtual Point has common ownership with UDRPSearch.com, a search engine for UDRP cases.

The panelist ruled that the domain name could not have been registered in bad faith since the domain was registered prior to the complainant’s use of the mark FastTrak.

However, the panelist declined to find reverse domain name hijacking. The panelist pointed out that the complainant, FastTrak of Clermont, Florida, was not represented by counsel. Panelist Evan Brown said he would “attribute the decision to file the action to a lack of robust understanding, rather than bad faith.”

Although he did not say it, I suspect the decision to not find reverse domain name hijacking was also influenced by a lawsuit Virtual Point filed against FastTrak for reverse domain name hijacking. It’s possible that Brown didn’t want to decide the issue because it was already in front of a court. Granted, he could have also decided to not continue to hear the UDRP case after the lawsuit was filed.



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.Asia is opening up in July

May 23, 2017Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off on .Asia is opening up in July

Domains will be easier to register and open to people outside of Asia.

Ten years after its initial release, the .Asia top level domain name will become easier to register for people outside of Asia this summer.

Currently, registrants need to provide a regional contact or ID (essentially, a contact in Asia) before a  .Asia domain can be registered. That will change on July 15 when the Charter Eligibility Requirement Policies are updated.

The new policy will eliminate the need for the local presence check during the registration process, so it will be possible to register a .Asia domain without jumping through hoops.

Currently, many domain name registrars offer a free or low-cost proxy in Asia for .Asia registrants. But some registrars, including GoDaddy, follow stringent requirements for registrations.

There are over 200,000 registered .Asia domain names.



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Sedo adds new escrow option through partnership with Escrow.domains

May 23, 2017Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off on Sedo adds new escrow option through partnership with Escrow.domains

Service targets people who can handle the domain transfer themselves.

Domain name marketplace Sedo has added a new domain name escrow option through a partnership with Escrow.domains, a service offered by law firm Greenberg & Lieberman, LLC.

The service is in addition to Sedo’s existing escrow offering for domain transactions not initiated on its marketplace. The existing service manages the transfer of the domain name in addition to handling funds, so the new service is a more affordable option for people who can handle the transfer themselves.

Buyers and sellers can upload custom contracts as part of the transaction.

Fees for the new service are the same as if you start a transaction directly on Escrow.domains. They start at 0.89% of the transaction price.

Sedo’s existing “hands on” escrow service has a 3% fee.

I look at the new offering as a sort of referral program from a trusted domain name marketplace.



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125 people to attend DNSeattle on Thursday

May 23, 2017Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off on 125 people to attend DNSeattle on Thursday

Off to Seattle, the center of the domain name universe.

125 people from the domain name industry are expected to attend the sold-out DNSeattle meetup at Amazon.com’s headquarters on Thursday evening. The event is organized by Michael Cyger of DomainSherpa.

This year’s meetup is from 6-9 PM on Thursday and features an interview with domain broker Andrew Rosener titled “Selling Ice to Eskimos.” Rightside attorney Statton Hammock will transform into DJ STATN to play tunes at the event.

Proceeds from DNSeattle benefit cancer charity Fred Hutch.

I attended last year’s event and found it to be a great networking opportunity and a chance to catch up with people I hadn’t seen since NamesCon. I will be in Seattle for this year’s event as well and will provide a wrap next week.



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Rightside has sold over 400 two letter domain names

May 22, 2017Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off on Rightside has sold over 400 two letter domain names

Average sales price is over $1,000 and they come with premium renewals.

Rightside began offering two-letter domain names under its 40 top level domain names back in September. The company has sold 416 of these domain names to date, the company told Domain Name Wire.

The total revenue from these domains is $483,130, or an average of $1,161 per domain name. The median price of the domains is $400 wholesale.

Most of these domain names renew at premiums equal to their original registration fee, but some renew at lower prices.

In terms of volume, the top domains for these sales are .live, .news, .pub, .studio and .market. In terms of revenue they are .live, .news, .games, .video and .market.

To be clear, these numbers do not include two character domains that include digits. For example, Rightside sold 3D.software for six figures in 2015. (It appears 3D.software later expired.)

The 416 domains represent about 1.5% of Rightside’s total inventory of two-letter domains across its portfolio of new top level domains.



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