Joseph Peterson reviews the past week in expired domain name sales.
Turns out this is my 100th article for DomainNameWire.com. Saying “Domain.TLD sold for $$$ because ???, implying Blah” – that’s the easy part. What’s tricky, as a writer, is finding ways to vary that sentence 50 times in a row without going nuts. Harder still: inventing transitions to move through the sentences. After all, looking at a list of prices in descending order, there really are no segues. “Flow” is hard to achieve. With 100+ domains to cover, reports tend to be dense; and the natural structure is flat and monotonous. Yet varying the pace only adds to the length of the journey! Fortunately, while I grapple with making the unreadable readable, busy people can cut loose and skim the tables.
NameJet’s top 3 expired domain sales last week were all English, followed by Chinese in slots 4 & 5. Parent companies / umbrella brands often go for names that suggest unity yet broad universality. We saw that with Google’s Alphabet. It’s true of Unilever, Frank Schilling’s “Uniregistry”, and equally true of UniPress.com. Yes, it’s a good name; but no, the intrinsic value of that domain isn’t $8.6k on the wholesale market. Supply and demand, though. That domain might upgrade several websites, all of which are competing to be seen and remembered: UnipressCorp.com, GetUnipress.com, UnipressSoftware.com, Unipress.co.uk, etc.
LALawyers.com was a bargain at $2k. Altogether, L.A. lawyers probably billed more than that in the time it took you to blink. Considering how many people work as staff employees somewhere and how frequently requirements and faces change, there’s money in StaffTraining.com ($4.6k). Coincidentally, KunTou.com ($3.1k) is Japanese for “education”or “training”; but the buyer is Chinese. (Japan remains strangely absent from the domain market.) ChengJie.com ($3.9k) may be a personal name or some broader topic; mostly I find people named Jie Cheng rather than the reverse.
“HG” prefixes like the 2 above have also popped up here and here and here, for starters. But mostly it’s the many 4-letter .COMs and 5-7 digit numerics where you’ll find Chinese buyers in the charts below. Words interest me more than character sequences. Take Pergament.com ($910), for instance. That’s actually a variant of “parchment”, which preceded paper. And the buyer might be either a real estate company or an investment fund. Meanwhile, Yamas.com ($1.0k) and Peruvian llamas are not related; rather, Yamas would be a Hindu system of ethics.
GreenCraft.com ($1.4k) is one of 8 or more “green” domains to have sold at NameJet between $1k and $10k so far during 2015. We saw the second highest last week and the highest back in May. Not surprising, since 100% of all our lives are subsumed in the environment; and “green” is one helluva shortcut for “sustainable” (4 syllables) or “environmentally friendly” (8 syllables)!
BabysFirst.com ($1.3k) might struggle with ambiguity. Then again, context clarifies whether we’re talking about a “baby’s first” step / word / fender bender or putting “babies first”. WashingtonUniversity.com ($601) seems better than WUSTL.edu. (Counterintuitively, they’re located in St. Louis, Missouri, not Washington.)
Anfim.com ($530) may be intended as an upgrade for a coffee grinder, whereas Bires.com ($498) is a surname used in several websites, including that of race car driver Kelly Bires. Speaking of racing, FireBirdRaceway.com ($570) matches the name of an Idaho facility using FireBirdOnline.com. Several pump domains also sold: IndustrialPumps.com ($541), IndustrialPump.com ($231), and ThePumpingStation.com ($475). But the biggest cluster of domains was centered around assisted living; at least 9 sold – 5 of them between $300-$400.
Week to week, the amount of data collected varies; but the TLD distribution is very consistent. .ORG is doing quite well. I count 12 sales within these charts – 2 above $2.5k and 4 more above $700, three of which are 2-worders. .NET shows up with 4 sales, including an LLL it placed at $1.4k. Usually .NET and .ORG are the only 2 TLDs to feature here apart from .COM, but last week a number of expired .INFOs drew fire from bidders. These 6 included quality single words like Universities.info ($265), Paranormal.info ($238), and Opera.info ($301):
That’s a clue about the meaning of Talfazat.com ($295) = تلفزات . Quite undervalued. Quite.
WriterTools.com ($285) is a nice, straightforward domain. AntiTerrorism.org ($245) reminds me of the MUCH higher sale of CounterTerrorism.com in May. Looks like that’s the very subject currently being tweeted about by someone named Hamilton Fish, whose twitter handle matches HamFish.org ($225). I don’t know wether the SinoPro companies on .CN or .TW bid for or will buy SinoPro.com ($220). However, if you’d like some FutureInfo.com ($210), here are some predictions:
Lots of personal names in that $100 – $150 range: Dan Fissel, L. Colby, Carl Levin, Kevin Seconds, even Ivana Trump, former wife of Donald Trump. There appear to be at least 2 travel sites using the name Vermundo – one on .DE and another on .RO; so Vermundo.com ($195) may go to either (or neither) of them. SpectrumPacific.com ($179) matches an existing e-learning company currently using the .ORG.
Gender equality made progress last week as Saudi Arabian women won the right to vote. While it may not be as crucial, it’s still nice to see someone making a case for GrandmotherClocks.com ($99).
Company fails to even make a prima facie of lack of rights or legitimate interest.
Specialty drinkware company Progressive Specialty Glass Company has engaged in reverse domain name hijacking.
National Arbitration Forum panelist Darryl C. Wilson came to this determination after the glass company filed a UDRP against Progressive Specialty Co Inc, a swag maker.
Both companies have been in a business for decades, and Progressive Specialty Co Inc. registered the domain name back in 1999.
It seems that, just recently, the complainant started pestering the respondent about her domain name. The complainant tried to get the respondent to sell her domain name. When that failed, it filed the UDRP.
The UDRP was pretty bad, with Progressive Specialty Glass Company failing to even make a prima facie case that the domain owner lacks rights and legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
Respondent contends that Complainant has used scare tactics and bullying to force Respondent to transfer the disputed domain name to Complainant. Complainant disputes that it has operated outside of proper business etiquette in any manner. The Panel notes that Respondent registered the disputed domain name in 1999 and operated its business for many years prior to Complainant’s mark registration and that Complainant’s own domain name
was registered in 2001. Respondent contends that she was unaware of Complainant’s existence until receipt of Complainant’s C&D letter and the threat of filing the present UDRP action. The Panel notes the parties engaged in negotiations over the possible sale and transfer of the disputed domain name but were unable to come to a satisfactory agreement. Complainant argues that its subsequent actions were warranted due to Respondent’s infringement of Complainant’s mark but Complainant provides no evidence of infringement. Complainant’s registration of the mark PROGRESSIVE SPECIALTY GLASS, INC. does not give Complainant exclusive rights to control the use of the individual words that constitute its mark. The marks are not identical and the parties businesses coexisted for more than a decade without any apparent conflict. Complainant did not contact Respondent until after Complainant registered its mark. But registration of a mark does not make prior use of similar marks suddenly infringing uses. The Panel here finds that the evidence supports a conclusion that Complainant’s assertions of Respondent’s bad faith registration or use are unfounded and Complainant has used the UDRP as a Plan “B” option to attempt to secure the domain after commercial negotiations have broken off. The Panel finds that reverse domain name hijacking is present.
New TLD company reaps millions from losing .art and .data auctions.
New top level domain name company Minds + Machines has padded its bank account with another $3.5 million as a result of losing two more top level domain auctions.
The company got the money from losing private auctions for .art and .data.
Minds + Machines still has an interest in 7 contested strings, so it might pick up even more cash from losing auctions in the future.
With about $50 million in its bank account, the company is considering the best way to return excess cash to shareholders. It is considering a special dividend or share buybacks. One of its board members, Elliot Noss, has done significant share buybacks at Tucows.
Despite the big cash hoard, the company is tightening its belt for the long run. This is a mature decision that bodes well for the company’s future.
In other Minds + Machines news, former board member and co-founder Frederick Krueger sold another 20 million shares. He only has 21.5 million left.
New domain name likely sets launch record for new domain names.
The new .online top level domain name received over 28,000 registrations in the first 30 minutes of general availability today. It now has over 30,000 registrations, including 1,130 high priced registrations during the early access period.
In addition to being a very popular word tacked onto the end of existing registrations in .com, .Online registry has been heavily promoting the domain name. I received two promotional emails yesterday from registrars. Also, former .online partners Tucows and NameCheap will push the domain.
Radix is also buying outdoor advertising in San Francisco to promote .online. All told, it’s putting millions of dollars into its marketing.
The thing I see holding .online back is steep premium prices on many domain names. In many cases I checked, you can get [Word]online.com for much less.
Former Oversee.net VP will lead marketing for domain investing tools provider.
Former Oversee.net VP of Marketing and Communications Aaron Kvitek has joined Above.com, which is best known for its domain name parking optimization service.
Kvitek was most visible in the domain name business for his work on Oversee.net’s DomainFEST conferences.
He is now tasked with improving Above.com’s messaging to the domain name community. The company found that many people didn’t understand that it’s a parking optimization company rather than a parking company itself. It also has an integrated registrar and marketplace, but Above.com has mostly been associated with domain parking.
I found some money waiting for me from a domain name company.
You’ve probably seen promotions from your state for its unclaimed funds databases. States maintain a database where you can claim money owed to you, such as a utility deposit refund, forgotten bank accounts, insurance premiums, etc.
I saw an ad for Texas’ unclaimed money database the other day and decided to search my name. I was surprised to find that I had $33.96 waiting for me from Endurance International Group (EIGI).
EIGI is a rollup of a lot of shared hosting companies (e.g. Hostgator) and domain businesses (e.g. Dotster).
I reached out to EIGI to figure out what the money was from, and they weren’t able to track it down. This is unsurprising since they’ve acquired so many companies over the years. I started using Dotster in 2000, and I’m sure I’ve used some of their hosting companies along the way.
The EIGI money is tied to an old address, so I suspect it was sent there and returned undeliverable. Perhaps it was a refund.
In my case, we’re not talking about big bucks. But it’s probably worth checking our your state’s database to see if you are due money.
Are the top level domain names .shop and .通販 likely to confuse a reasonable internet user?
Certainly not visually. Nor aurally.
They also don’t mean the same thing. According to fluent Japanese speakers, 通販 used to be the term for catalog/mail order shopping, and later encompassed online shopping.
Yet panelist Robert Nau found them too similar in a string confusion objection filed by Commercial Connect against Amazon.com, applicant for the Japanese string.
It was perhaps the most baffling decision in all of the new top level domain name objection proceedings.
Now, a three member International Centre for Dispute Resolutions panel has reversed (pdf) the original decision.
The panel found that Nau “could not have reasonably come to the decision it reached” and that he “failed to meet [his] burden of proving that” the two strings would cause probable confusion in the mind of the average, reasonable internet user.