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WIPO panel denies UDRP on WUP.com

December 19, 2014Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off

Complainant probably didn’t exist when domain name was registered.

A World Intellectual Property Organization panel has denied a UDRP attempt on the three letter domain name WUP.com.

The complaint was filed by Wengenroth & Partner, an German SEO and online marketing firm. It appears the company didn’t even exist when the respondent register the domain name in 2008.

The single member panel found that the complainant did not prove a lack of rights or legitimate interests, nor did it prove the domain name was registered in bad faith.

It’s worth noting that the complainant uses wengenroth-und-partner.de as its website, not even WUP.de.

The panel didn’t consider the issue of reverse domain name hijacking. I suspect the respondent didn’t ask for it (he was self-represented), but the panelist still should have considered it.



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Will more contested TLDs get more registrations?

December 19, 2014Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off

Probably, but quantifying it is difficult at this point.

I commonly hear that the best is yet to come in terms of new to level domain name launches. The most heavily contested applications are just getting resolved, and these represent the best top level domain names.

It makes sense to me. But will this reflect reality? Are the TLDs we’re seeing so far not representative of the results of future, heavily contested TLD launches?

I tried to dig into the data a bit this week, but I’ll admit it’s difficult to draw any conclusions. Among the factors that differ between each TLD that are difficult to control for:

1. Retail price
2. Number of premiums and their prices
3. Number of domains on name collision list
4. Registrar distribution
5. Date released
6. Marketing

The closest you can get to controlling for these is to compare Donuts’ domain names. You can at least eliminate #4 and #6, because most of Donuts’ domains are available at the same registrars and have been marketed the same way.

You still get into issues with retail price, premiums, collision lists, and dates.

The problem with dates is that most of the TLDs that were in contention sets are just now being released. It’s so soon after release that even an extra month on the market can make a difference in the registration base. A long time from now this difference will be marginal and you can run a better analysis.

I looked at Donuts domain names that ended sunrise in August through November, checked if they were contested, and then looked at the most recent zone file data from Domain Incite Pro (as of Thursday). This is what I found.

donuts-contested

This list is ordered by when the domains were released. As you can see, more contested domains are coming online recently.

I’ve played around with the data and found that it’s really hard to draw any conclusions. The median number of registrations are higher for the contested domains despite most of them coming out recently. But we’re talking about small numbers here, and you still have so many uncontrolled variables. For example, .CreditCard is an expensive domain to register. Some of the domains clearly have broader appeal than others, too. To be sure, even the ones with 3-4 applicants aren’t exactly blowing doors.

Qualitatively, some of the contested ones look better than the uncontested ones. .Restaurant and .Church come to mind. Yet other ones, including the four-applicant .pizza, have fairly limited market size.

There’s another variable that gets introduced when there’s just one applicant for a domain: varying levels of quality that are difficult to quantify.

I think people are generally correct when they say the best is yet to come with new TLD quality. Yet I also question how much that will correlate with registration numbers. If you pay more for the rights to a TLD, you might hold back more premiums or charge higher prices.

Let’s check in on this in another year.



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Latest domain news at DNW.com: Domain Name Wire.

Last week’s Expired Domain Name Sales

December 19, 2014Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off

After seeing English and Chinese jostling for king of the mountain week after week, it’s a real pleasure to see Spanish climb to that top spot, as if reminding us that it – not English – stands as the world’s 2nd most populous language (behind Mandarin). GoDaddy auctioned off the word Gustazo.com for $4.7k. If you’re wondering what it means, well, I’ve already given you a clue in that first sentence. “Gustazo” equals a special pleasure. In particular, it’s used as an expression of grateful pride when an honor is bestowed. For instance, when this 21-year-old football player was named as team captain, he was quoted as saying, “It’s a great [gustazo] to wear the captain’s bracelet”. And suppose you wanted to “treat yourself” to something luxurious like a vacation? You’d literally “give yourself the [gustazo] of a holiday”. The plural .COM is already a developed brand.

InsurancePros.com ($4.6k) was right behind, needing no explanation. Yet by Vestibular2015.net ($3.3k) we’re leaving English once again. This time it’s Portuguese for next year’s college and grad school entrance exams in Brazil. What’s obvious to one demographic will be obscure to another. So, for the benefit of non-American readers (say, those in Latin America), I’ll just point out that TheOzarks.com refers to a region of the U.S. midwest. Continuing westward, the “high desert” in HighDesertUsedCarDealers.com ($2.6k) is yet another region.

Sometimes it’s beneficial to acquire customers at their first glimmer of interest in your niche, even if they may not be ready for checkout. That seems to be the strategy behind domain purchases like WhatIsForex.com ($2.3k) and HowToMakeCoffee.com ($561).

TreadmillsCentral.com ($1.7k) spent 14 years selling cardio machines for walking / running. As for DTRC.com ($2k), it could refer to any or none of these guys: the Dancer Transition Resource Center, Dakota Territory Resource Corp, or Diabetes Translational Research Center. Your guess is as good as mine.

Domain Name End $ Domain Name End $
Gustazo.com 4650 InsurancePros.com 4550
Vestibular2015.net 3250 TheOzarks.com 2921
WoodWorks
AndCrafts.com
2700 HighDesert
UsedCarDealers.com
2565
WhatIsForex.com 2275 DTRC.com 2026
EbooksFree
Download.org
1875 TreadmillsCentral.com 1725
HJIU.com 1625 SportsWearables.com 1576
ShareUpload.com 1530 DailyRates.com 1475
VertVOnline.ws 1426 KnowTech.com 1265
Anhdam.info 1226 Yeson522.com 1110
PASeniorCenters.org 1065 DebtRemedy.com 1055
TheGioiphimOnline.com 1027 Tulele.com 1025
CheyenneMeets
Chanel.com
910 Monserrat.com 909
ChurchConstruction.com 908 FastAndFurious
Investigation.com
830
Topeegy.com 813 SkyPixelMon.com 752
1Haber.com 720 FiberLan.com 710
TrueNudist.com 706 MundoInformativo.net 703
BHYS.com 701 Giydirme.com 693
Currencies-Online.com 692 Telefe.org 680
HG126.com 672 ImageSharing.com 636
SCYS.com 620 PYAMF.org 619
MyBusinessLoan.com 612 WornallHouse.org 610
DTodo.com 600 Herana-Gateway.org 595
FlyRomania.com 585 Share-a-Story-
Shape-a-Future.net
580
LinkAndThink.org 580 Testaurant.com 566
IraqiCurricula.org 561 HowToMakeCoffee.com 561
LSGHunter.com 560 LakeErie
SportFishing.com
550
Fix-All-DLL-Errors.com 547 SureShotSoftware.com 531
StarDustSoftware.com 520 KBC3.com 515
GTariff.com 514 MortgageDallas.com 512
AtaturkUniv.com 511 RepairPlus.com 511
WeddingMountain.com 510 Oozie.org 496
Rockero.com 495 51WMA.com 485
TFEC.com 470 AllNewProduct
Reviews.com
463
CareerFit-Test.com 460 Bets.cc 460
HighSchoolSailing
USA.org
457 Zooquarium
CapeCod.net
455
AdoreVintage.com 455 ComeToScotland.com 450
GoldenOrchard.com 447 973TheCoast.com 444
UK49S.com 438 Chsico.org 436
DecadeOfSEO.com 436 90HNBB.com 425
ColoringPagesPlus.com 410 SaltyInk.com 405
BallymunUnited.com 405 Crispen.org 405
HotelAlahuar.com 405 TheBigOptOut.com 405
Paintify.com 401 PSFN.org 399
Reg-Markets.org 380 PropertyDekho.com 375
MidtownVillage.org 371 Rutis.org 370
NJSJ.com 365 GameHacked.com 360
SeaSki.com 356 NorthBeach
Chamber.com
356
VerbReverb.com 355 NBDesign.com 355
FashionRat.com 355 MatchMine.com 355
Xiagen.com 353 IntraVJet.com 343
SYJB.com 339 MatchFWD.com 338
FreshFilm.com 338 LMBrown
WebDesign.com
335
HolaOaxaca.com 335 OatsFestival.com 335
DGKY.com 329 TwinFallsTaxi.com 327
HardKnockWoodFurniture.com 325 HG646.com 321
4NewTube.com 315 RatnerLaw.com 313
33Needs.com 310 MinistryOfDeals.com 310
GULZ.com 310 AVTCHistory.org 310
JSSO.com 309 GraphicArts.org 306
YaffaCafe.com 306 FantasyAlert.com 305
Cerevellum.com 305 CodaOnline.com 305
CapsuleProjects.com 304 DiscontinuedParts.com 300
W3Wizards.com 300 SilangMemoirs.com 297
OLHS.com 292 Khass.com 280
GameLeon.co 272 ClubElOrigen.com 272
XFSJ.com 271 DockBubbler.com 266
GraphicFetish.com 265 Loglar.com 260
Idealz.com 260 Dezmo.com 260
ShahirZag.com 259 EconomistBlog.com 258
IDCPhotography.com 255 ClubDuSoleil.com 255
FilmedIVIX.com 255 GreenlandDesign.org 253
378777.com 251 Braall.com 251
BatikButik.com 250 Ninja2U.com 245
DBFG.com 245 FreeActivator.com 242
RJMG.com 235 31673.com 227
GetReadyRentals.com 225 CardsRemembered.com 225
Philosyphia.com 220 HighTechInstitute.com 220
NSFWShow.com 220 YourPeriod.com 218
CSCCC.info 217 DZLW.com 215
AllThingsFarmer.com 215 SpawEditor.com 212
TheSeniorCenter.org 211 CWMuseum.org 210
CT-Al-Anon.org 210 HiiraanNews.net 210
LeoKesting.com 210 ARate.com 208
DZQP.com 208 ShoppingMonkey.com 206
DHtmlExamples.com 206 SABPA.com 206
Empress.org 206 MarijuanaAdvisor.com 205
WebEvader.org 205 EITCPlatform.org 205
AYTE.com 204 HG8718.com 203
AlabamaPower
Company.com
202 FOFN.com 200
Spotiz.com 200 HVON.com 200
1111JH.info 196 MentalWellness
Network.org
194
TechCrackers.com 191 MermaidDiaries.com 191
VSOG.com 190 LawyersAnd
TheLaw.com
190
GingkoBlue.com 185 YHKC.com 181
FilmStream.org 181 SpaWire.com 178
North-Face.com 176 XWCH.com 175
PGWW.com 175 SmokeHoods.com 175
KZDX.com 173 TeamRadio.com 172
ExoticAngels.com 172 BMHW.info 171
JCSY.com 170 2367.cc 170
QLAW.org 167 TJBL.com 165
UighurLanguage.com 165 YLoan.com 165
Salesopedia.com 165 ConsumersGroup.com 160
KAVD.com 155 Linos.org 150
SmallAndMighty.net 142 TheColorist.com 140
JumpTheQueue.com 135 ThoughtAnomalies.com 130
PMTooling.com 130 GetawayBahamas.com 120
RegionalIdentity.com 120 GreenWichita.org 115
PrecisionPR.com 105 MeiLing.net 101
TeamOuch.com 100 HIVE.us 95

I guess it’s appropriate for RegionalIdentity.com ($120) to sell during the same week as TheOzarks.com, chart-topping Spanish and Portuguese domains, and the UighurLanguage.com ($165). The Uyghurs (pronounced “Weegur”) are a predominantly muslim ethnic group, 10 million strong in northern China.

As usual, there are too many interesting domain auctions to discuss them all. If I were to single out some of the more notable items, I’d include DailyRates.com ($1.5k), Testaurant.com ($566), RepairPlus.com ($511), Bets.cc ($460), ComeToScotland.com ($450), Paintify.com ($401), DiscontinuedParts.com ($300), TheSeniorCenter.com ($211), TeamRadio.com ($172), TheColorist.com ($140), JumpTheQueue.com ($135), and YourPeriod.com ($208). For the last of these, the audience is nearly half the English-speaking world.

NameJet’s highest selling expired auction last week was (unusually) a 5-digit numeric. I’m guessing buyers were attracted by the “123” sequence in 12328.com ($4.1k). Normally it’s 4-digit numerics that we see in this price range.

Your hunch that Certus.com ($3.9k) was involved in certification of some kind turns out to be correct. As early as 1998, Certus was a consulting group for integrated circuit testing and verification. By 2007, however, the domain represented a company dealing with “corporate regulatory compliance”. This cat still has a few of its 9 lives remaining.

Domain Name End $ Domain Name End $
12328.com 4068 Certus.com 3855
QuitDrugs.com 3350 DORF.com 3221
NASG.com 2400 CyberOffice.com 2201
EnergyFunds.com 2101 SecurityVideo.com 2055
OLEE.com 1600 NaturalColor.com 1010
ScienceAcademy.com 1009 MATE.org 950
MCE.net 898 Tasty.tv 891
GigaScale.org 890 LegallyBlond.com 840
BigBeats.com 760 SunshineDiving.com 747
InvestingClass.com 687 TBIB.com 661
CSRIU.org 660 VisitHotel.com 652
O47.com 615 ClimbingNews.com 612
Yousa.com 600 CanineAcademy.com 595
InnovativeArt.com 560 TheVent.com 521
Renters.org 515 DesignerBags.net 441
ChristianTelevison.com
[sic]
420 U3M.com 375
Informer.net 360 SoxFirst.com 355
IQIX.com 336 IIRT.com 330
AnthonyGoicolea.com 315 RecycleMaster.com 281
CondiMinds.com 130 BirdSeller.com 76

Informer.net ($360) will make an excellent brand name for a news site of some kind – product releases, gossip, industry reporting, or current events. (Right now, .NET is frequently undervalued, in my view.) Mutual fund investors will probably find their way to EnergyFunds.com ($2.1k) at some point. We might also see a hair care commercial one day for NaturalColor.com ($1k).

Gotta love the sound of Tasty.tv ($891) for a cooking show! ScienceAcademy.com ($1k) seems more likely to be used for some private High School than a professional organization. By now science is too widespread to bottle. DORF.com ($3.2k) sounds like a great name for a cartoon character. And as long as there are birds in cages, somebody is a BirdSeller.com ($76), right?

I challenge anyone to list 5 domains about drug abuse as good as QuitDrugs.com ($3.4k). In my opinion, that’s the best domain in this week’s article, whatever its price tag.



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.Club raising more money, valued at $25.4 million

December 18, 2014Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off

.Club to be valued at $25.4 million after investment.

.ClubThe .Club top level domain name registry is raising more funds, and the latest round will value the company at $25.4 million after the investment closes.

.Club previously raised $7.5 million, with about $3.5 million of that in debt. The company is conducting two additional fundraising rounds, both of which are fully subscribed.

The first is a raise from existing shareholders that will effectively convert the $3.5 million of debt to equity.

The second round will be a $3 million equity investment, bringing the total raised to $10.5 million. That round is expected to close in February and will give the company a $25.4 million post-money valuation.

In addition to existing investors, a few strategic investors will participate in the equity round.

.Club founder Colin Campbell told Domain Name Wire that the funds will be used to support a $3.5 million marketing plan in 2015.

Fort Lauderdale-based .Club has the most paid registrations of any new top level domain name, with over 150,000 registrations to date.

Campbell and Chief Marketing Officer Jeffrey Sass will be guests on the Domain Name Wire Podcast on January 5.



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Latest domain news at DNW.com: Domain Name Wire.

Union Bank loses cases against gripe websites

December 18, 2014Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off

Former customer registered ten domain names to air grievances about the bank.

Union BankUnion Bank has lost three domain name arbitration cases involving an upset former customer.

The bank filed three separate actions covering UnionBank.me, unionbancal.co, unionbank.cc, union-bank.co, mufgunionbankna.com, unionbancalcorp.com, unionbancal.net, unionbancal.org, unionbankna.com and unionbanks.net.

The domain names were all registered by William Bookout. At one point, his company had a Small Business Administration Loan with the bank. His loan went into default and he later filed bankruptcy, according to the decision. He was upset with how the bank handled his loan, so he created a number of gripe sites.

In each case, the World Intellectual Property Organization panel found that the domain names were being used as gripe sites, and that he had rights/legitimate interests in them. They were also not registered in bad faith.

Often times, a panel will not allow a gripe site that creates initial confusion. In this case, the domains don’t include “sucks” or another modifier, so someone who went to the domains might initially assume they are owned by Union Bank.

However, when both the complainant and respondent are in the U.S., WIPO panels typically state that the possibility of initial interest confusion does not automatically negate the Respondent’s rights or legitimate interests in a name. This is due to the U.S.’s strong protection of non-commercial free speech.



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A look back at November’s NameJet Sales

December 18, 2014Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off

November for Namejet – as measured by domain auctions that closed above $2,000 – was a slow month. Just one month prior, 12 out of the 66 charted sales surpassed $10k, with the highest attaining $91.8k; but last month only 1 out of 61 sales climbed into the 5 digits. To be fair, the high end of the domain market is always the most erratic. Trends are mainly to be found iNameJetn the low and mid-value ranges and over a longer period of time.

Interestingly, activity in the domain sector seems to be quite seasonal.
Cycles in NameJet data during the past 3 years suggest that the aftermarket heats up in Summer and cools off by late Autumn:

Season Quantity > $2k
(Mean by Year)
Sum of Sales > $2k
(Mean by Year)
Summer (6,7,8) 254 $1.49 million
Autumn (9,10,11) 223 $1.07 million
Winter (12,1,2) 251 $1.46 million
Spring (3,4,5) 264 $1.40 million

That’s a very quick glance – far too crude to bear scientific scrutiny. Still, it’s suggestive. But what actually sold?

Meixi.com ($27,108) – This was NameJet’s lone 5-figure result during November. Time and time again, China has topped 2014 sales charts. Meixi is an important district of a Chinese capital city, as you can see from pictures included in one of my weekly articles. (Worth 2 clicks, I promise!)

NYC.co.com ($4,245) and/or CityMag.com ($4,322)  – Month to month, the menu of domains on offer at high-profile outlets like NameJet varies quite a bit. Last month, NameJet was auctioning off a number of large cities within the .CO.COM subdomain. Either because of .NYC publicity or despite it, New York City was the top subdomain sale. It’s worth noting that NYC.com, alongside CO.com, also leases its subdomains. City-centric marketing is big business, as CityMag.org – a U.S. association of member magazines – would tell you. Yet the buyer of CityMag.com resides in China.

FB2.com ($2,500) and/or NS4.com ($2,400) – Aside from NYC, these were the only two 3-character sales that charted at NameJet last month. Considering that LLL.com domains normally contribute multiple sales in the lower 5-figure range, their absence partly explains the apparent slump. No, FB2 isn’t a new and improved Facebook. There’s an ebook format called “Fiction Book” that uses the .FB2 file extension. Meanwhile, NS4 may stand for “New Sedan 4″, a Toyota hybrid.

SIGI.com ($8,788) and/or WITE.com ($6,500)  – These were the most expensive CVCVs sold by NameJet. Those of you who speak Old Scots will recognize the word “wite” as “a fine imposed by a king or lord on a subject who committed serious crime”. More recently, it has been used as an ETF ticker symbol. Personally, if I were using SIGI.com, I’d be concerned by homophones like CIGI, SIJI, Ciggy, Siggy, SeeGee, etc.

DOWO.com ($6,000) and/or WODO.com ($4,100)  – You can’t ask for a better side-by-side comparison than these nearly identical domains selling at the same venue at the same time. The cheaper of the 2 is audibly more distinct – in English if not in German.

Atlantico.com ($7,599) and/or Magnetix.com ($7,502)  – Both of these are solid brand names, although “Magnetix” does face some ambiguity with respect to “Magnetics”. As you’d expect, Atlantico isn’t just similar to the name of an ocean; it is that ocean in several languages, including Spanish. Want your company to seem big? Name it after something large or widespread!

StartSmart.com ($6,801) and/or Conchita.com ($6,100)  – I’ve written about these here and here, respectively.

PrescriptionSunglasses.com ($7,580) and/or eClothing.com ($5,100)  – On the one hand, we have a single, exact-match, e-commerce item; and, on the other, we have a much shorter brand name for one of e-commerce’s most comprehensive categories. Basically, it’s the choice between a very specific niche, laser-targeted in terms of relevance in SERPs, and a broad brand name that can encompass wider inventory. Neither option is right or wrong. Sometimes 22-letter, 6-syllable domain names are actually very succinct ideas. After all, there is no shorter way to say “prescription sunglasses” than “prescription sunglasses”.

KitchenTowels.com ($2,569) and/or VidaliaOnions.com ($2,200)  – Here are another 2 domains that define narrow product niches.

Theremin.com ($2,511) and/or PetChef.com ($2,550)  – If you’ve ever seen a 1950s scifi movie, then you’ve heard the eerie, electronic, alien voice of the theremin. Einstein considered it revolutionary, and it paved the way for synthesizers. The Beach Boys used it too in their song, “Good Vibrations”. Named after its Russian inventor – who was later forced by the KGB to work on secret science projects in a Gulag labor camp – this is the only instrument I can think of that is played without physical contact. Since theremins ship easily, Theremin.com would be great for e-commerce; but it can just as easily brand some other venture.

As for PetChefs.com, if you’re not the sort of dog / cat owner to be found sautéing gourmet grub for your pet, you might have more fun perplexing Fido / Mittens with the Theremin’s high-pitched whine!



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Cuba domain names take off after yesterday’s announcement

December 18, 2014Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off

Yesterday was a good day for Rob Sequin’s domain name portfolio.

Cuba websites

Traffic to Rob Sequin’s Cuba websites, including HavanaJournal.com (pictured), quintupled yesterday.

Yesterday, President Obama announced renewed relations with the government of Cuba. The announcement has immediate ramifications for trade and travel between the two countries, and opens up the potential for much more.

Immediately, people went to domain name registrars to register Cuban domain names. According to Verisign’s DomainView tool, over 1,500 domains containing “cuba” were registered yesterday in .com and .net. Compare that to fewer than 100 that are registered on a typical day.

Additionally, close to 300 domains including “Havana” were registered. Even the term “Cigar” had a banner day, with domains like SendCubanCigars.com registered.

But one man was way ahead of these people.

Domain name investor and buyer broker Rob Sequin has collected 2,500 Cuba-related domain names dating back to 1998. He’s developed 40 of them into sites, and yesterday saw a quintupling of traffic to the sites.

Sequin was elated by yesterday’s news. But for him, Cuba isn’t just an investment. It’s a passion, and he was genuinely excited about what yesterday’s announcement means for both Americans and Cubans.

“It’s great for Americans,” he explained. “The travel restrictions will be eased so more Americans can travel under what they call a general license, which basically means that, if you have purposeful travel, you’ll be able to travel to Cuba without a specific license.”

He also said the relaxed trade restrictions and the U.S. having an embassy in Cuba will be good for Cubans.

“It should be positive for the Cuban people because they’ll have more interactions with Americans and more small business opportunities,” he said.

Sequin is actually heading to Cuba with his family after Christmas on a a humanitarian license. He made plans for the trip in August, well before the recent news.

One of Sequin’s sites that saw a jump in traffic yesterday was HavanaJournal.com, which covers all things Cuba — including relations with the United States. Sequin also runs CubaTrips.org, a site about legal travel to Cuba. One of his more popular Cuba service sites is CubaCityHall.com, where people can retrieve Cuban government documents like birth, marriage and death certificates, as well as police and school records.

You can see a full list of his Cuba domain names here. Many of the domain names aren’t directly affected by yesterday’s announcement, but they could pay off in the future. HavanaVacations.com comes to mind, as there is the potential for U.S. citizens to be able to travel to Cuba on vacation in the future.

Other domain investors also stand to profit from the Cuba news. At last check, geo domain name investor Skip Hoagland was involved with Cuba.com. The Castello Brothers are also big on Cuba.



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Johnson & Johnson pays $3.1M for .Baby, CREA $3.4M for .MLS

December 17, 2014Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off

.Baby and .MLS new TLDs awarded.

Johnson & JohnsonTwo new top level domain names contention sets were resolved at auction today. The auction with six participants ended with a lower price than the one with just two.

Consumer products company Johnson & Johnson won .Baby with a $3,088,888 bid. It beat out Google, Minds + Machines, Donuts, Radix and Famous Four in the auction.

Johnson & Johnson also owns the domain name Baby.com.

Canadian Real Estate Association beat Afilias in the auction for .MLS, paying $3,359,000. CREA tried everything it could to avoid an auction, but it failed in both its Community Priority Evaluation and Legal Rights Objection against the Afilias’ bid.

So instead of just paying to win at the auction, it spent a lot on lawyers and an additional community application for the domain. Given the results in some other objections, it might have been worth rolling the dice.



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Last week’s end user domain name sales at Sedo

December 17, 2014Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off

Some end user sales…and some probable end user sales.

Sedo handled 573 transactions last week for a total of about $1.0 million of domain name sales.

This week’s end user list is shorter than usual, but that doesn’t mean there were fewer end user sales. For one thing, there are a lot of domains still in escrow.

Another reason is that a lot of sales look like they might be end users, but it’s hard to tell for sure.

For example, competitiveintelligence.com sold for $35,477. End user pricing? Perhaps, but that’s a great domain name. The buyer also owns about 100 domain names, and I many of them are parked. I suspect it’s an end user sale, but I’m not sure.

Another example is Hello.us at 3,125 EUR. The address points to a Regus office in New York City. Sounds like an end user sale to me, but I can’t tie it to one company.

OK, on to the verified list of some of the week’s end user sales at the Sedo marketplace:

(You can view previous lists like this here. If you’d like to learn how to sell your domain names like these on Sedo, download this report.)

FinanceApp.co.uk 2,500 EUR – Financeapp AG, a Swiss company that also owns FinanceApp.ch. That site is currently password protected, so it might be under development.

Camper.club $1,500 – Camper, a womens’ shoe company that owns Camper.es

Roboform.de 2,772 EUR – Siber Systems, creator of Roboform password software.

LuissViaRoma.com $999 – CitizenHawk acquired this domain name on behalf of Luisa Via Roma Spa in Florence, Italy

FromYouFloers.com $799 – CitizenHawk acquired this domain name on behalf of From You Flowers

Smart-House.com 2,800 EUR – SmartHouse GmbH. I don’t believe this is connected with SmartHouse Media GmbH, which has a similar .de domain.

SustainableHuman.com $1,895 – Martin Adams, an author who writes about sustainability

ChangeMoney.org $1,500 – Bitreserve Global Foundation, a company that offers a bitcoin holding/payments platform.

Slashe.com 1,000 EUR – SAS Slash-e – This French company owns SlashTagTV.com and SlashTag.TV, which is coming soon.

MilestoneLegal.com $7,000 – Lawyer Philip Milestone in Alameda, CA.



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Could new TLDs have an SEO benefit in the future?

December 17, 2014Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off

Only if it improves search results.

Using a new top level domain name instead of a .com or other gTLD does not give you a benefit in Google search results. Ditto for using a .com instead of a new TLD. They’re basically the same.

That’s what Google says. And it makes sense when you think about it. A lot of people that think new TLDs have an SEO advantage are thinking with their heart, not with their head.

Logic dictates that Google would give a boost of some sorts to domains on new TLDs if it made its search results better. I can’t think of a plausible argument at this point in time that Google SERPs would be better if new TLDs received some sort of boost. If Google’s algorithms accidentally gave a boost based on TLD, it certainly would scramble to fix this.

While it doesn’t make sense for Google to favor a new TLD over an existing TLD at this point, it could make sense in the future. It would make sense if it improved search results. Let’s go through some of the arguments that ranking new TLDs ahead of other TLDs would benefit search results, and consider if they are valid now and if they will be in the future.

New TLDs Cost More

Low-priced TLDs tend to attract a lot of bad actors. If you’re going to use a bunch of throw-away domains for phishing, malware, or crappy content, you don’t want to spend a lot of money on them.

Conversely, do higher-priced domains eliminate bad actors? I suspect there are fewer “bad” sites on higher-priced TLDs. That said, there are already a lot of expensive TLDs out there, such as .co. I haven’t seen any suggestions that .co domains get a search engine boost because of their price.

A more likely scenario would be that sites on a low-priced TLD would be scrutinized by Google. Back in 2008, Google’s Matt Cutts predicted:

“A top-level domain (TLD registry) will offer domains for under $4. The result will be another TLD blighted by spammy domain registrations.”

Later that year, .info domains (often offered for 99 cents at the time) were suddenly (and temporarily) purged from Google. I don’t think there was ever an official response, but it certainly led many to believe that Google was tinkering with its algorithms because of problems with bad sites on .info domains.

Google is pretty good at snuffing out malware and phishing. A bigger issue might be sites with low quality content on low cost domain names.

Another argument from people in the “new tlds cost more” camp is that Google started using HTTPS as a ranking signal in search results. SSL costs something, the argument goes, so Google found this to be indicative of better quality sites.

It’s important to think about why Google did this. Here’s the company’s blog post about it.

According to the company, Google wants to change behavior to make the web more secure, and also make sure sites that Google links to are secure. But they also note that they tested the impact on SERPs to make sure it improved before making this change.

Is it that SSL certificates cost something that search results would improve (or at least be the same)? Or is it because sites using it are often higher quality?

Another plausible idea: in theory, sites that use SSL certificates have had their identity validated. Which brings us to the next idea…

Regulated namespaces have better content

If a TLD has regulations limiting who can use the domain, will it make the sites using the domains better?

Let’s use .archi as an example, because it comes to mind as a fairly restricted TLD. .Archi is short for .architect.

It doesn’t seem like it would make sense for Google to boost .archi sites over other TLDs in search results right now.

First, there are only about 1,700 .archi domains registered. A fraction of these are probably in use. There would have to be a lot of websites under a particular TLD for Google to bother putting it in their algorithm. There are a lot of great architects websites on .com, .de and other TLDs right now. They’re unlikely to switch.

Second, for there to be a benefit in search results, Google would have to be having a problem with “fake” architecture sites. I just searched for “Austin Architect”, and Google is doing a good job of presenting well-respected architects in town. I don’t see anything that looks troublesome in the search results. Validation isn’t necessary, it seems.

If Google were to implement some sort of bonus for .archi sites, it would also need to differentiate between types of architects that qualify for .archi domains and those that don’t. For example, if someone searches for a “systems architect”, they probably aren’t looking for someone who qualifies to use a .archi domain.

So in the future, restricted namespaces could rank higher. But a number of things would have to happen for it to make sense for Google to take it into consideration.

New TLDs signal what kind of content is on the TLD

The idea here is that a domain that ends in .photography tells Google that the site is about photography. A domain that ends in .tattoo tells Google that the site is about tattoos.

Does Google currently have a problem classifying content on a website? Do they need a domain name to tell them? I don’t think so.

Now, there is the whole “exact match domain” argument. Google has cracked down on low quality sites using exact match domains, but I still believe people when they say using a domain name that exactly matches the topic people are searching for gives you a benefit. If nothing else, having those words bolded in the URL in search results should boost click-throughs. But you can exact match to the left of the dot on a lot of different TLDs.

Geo domains should rank better for local searches

Google doesn’t yet use geographic new TLDs as a ranking signal. It does use country code domain names as an indicator of the intended audience of content, however. It also allows people to tell Google their intended geographic target using Webmaster Tools. These are just a couple of the factors considered in the location equation for search results.

It would seem to follow that Google would, at some point, consider that a domain is on a .NYC domain when responding to searches. I’m not sure if this would give sites a leg up in the SERPs, though. If you search for movies and you’re in New York City, Google already does a good job of showing you results that are relevant to your local area. The TLD can be just one part of this.

Google certainly doesn’t want to show a .nyc domain name to someone searching for movie times in Kansas City.

I think adding a Geo TLD into the equation on when to show a site or not makes sense, along with the other tools Google already uses to figure this out. I suspect Google will examine this in the future. Its criterion will be simple: if we take this into consideration, does it improve our search results?

In summary, I think the key to think about is if Google can measurably improve its search results by taking into account the top level domain name used. If it can, it probably will consider them. If it can’t, it won’t.



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